Franklin’s $1.55M water tank grant one step in major infrastructure project

Storage tank, water main, high school, roundabout all part of “transformation” in Franklin

The city of Franklin is receiving one of 90 state grants to address critical water and wastewater infrastructure projects through the Ohio BUILDS grant program.

The Ohio Department of Development announced the award of $1.55 million to Franklin for the construction of a 500,000 gallon above-ground storage tank that will be located behind the current Joint Emergency Medical Services building on East Sixth Street near the entrance to Community Park.

The city is purchasing the JEMS building for future use of its Parks and Recreation Department. A portion of the building’s driveway apron will be used for a roundabout.

City Manager Jonathan Westendorf said JEMS will continue to operate from that location until the roundabout project starts. JEMS is building a new facility that will also house the Carlisle Fire Department in the Carlisle Business Park. It is scheduled to open in early 2024.

The state grant will also be used to replace the old 500,000 gallon standpipe on East Third Street, which was constructed in 1938, and a water booster station that was constructed around the same time. The city has already demolished the old standpipe, according to Westendorf.

The project also includes a new 12-inch water main to be constructed along East Sixth Street to help provide redundancy for the downtown area of the city. The total project cost was estimated in 2022 to be approximately $2.5 million.

The program, which is administered by the Ohio Department of Development, began in July 2021. This is the fifth round of the program and in total, nearly $500 million has been awarded for 343 critical infrastructure projects.

Westendorf said the project is a component of a number infrastructure improvements that he says will be “transformative” for Franklin.

“This is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the city’s history,” he said.

Officials said the funds will be used to replace outdated and expensive pieces of infrastructure in the city’s aging water system.

Westendorf told Franklin City Council that the projects all tie into getting the new high school up and running and new improvements for downtown.

He said the work will be “disruptive” as one project will lead into the next project. The end result will be a new downtown and riverfront area as well as a new roundabout on Sixth Street/Ohio 123 at the new high school and a new water line to support industrial development in southeast Franklin.

Westerndorf said the roundabout construction will close that portion of Sixth Street/Ohio 123 for three to four months. He said the roundabout’s center will have a prism of kites, the city’s symbol and will also have pedestrian crossing beacons.

Starting in September, Duke Energy will be moving electric service underground, work that will cost the utility about $750,000 to complete, Westendorf said. He said the work on Fourth Street will go from the City Building to the transmission poles that cross the Great Miami River. He said Duke has tentatively set completion by mid-November.

“This is phase 1 of the project and it sets the stage for the waterfront phase,” Westendorf said. “This is an exciting time. This is the right size project for a city of this size.”

Westendorf said once the Main Street project is completed, it will become a two-way street.

“This will bring in new opportunities but won’t change the nature or culture of the community,” he said.

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