From a ballfield facility benefiting both middle school students and the community at large to a greatly improved gateway into town, the city of Franklin is closing in on the completion or reaching a significant milestone of at least five major projects in 2022.
These were pointed out by Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey during FrankTalks Monday morning. He was one of four panelists discussing the event’s theme, “New Year, What’s Ahead,” joining Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden on education, Williamson Inc. Director of Business Development Nathan Zipper on business economic development and Williamson County Association of Realtors President Misty Woodford on real estate.
Franklin residents have been dealing with orange barrels, construction tie-ups and rutted roads for some time, but Stuckey provided a bit of balm as he named five projects that are starting to see light at the end of the traffic cone. Two of those fall within the realm of parks and recreation.
Work on Southeast Municipal Park, the “working title” of the 188-acre park that will likely receive a more befitting name later, is expected to begin with phase 1 this summer. The preliminary step is the completion of a bridge that crosses the Harpeth River into the park, which should be finished by mid-year.
Located off Carothers Parkway, Southeast Park will include four natural turf and one synthetic turf-lighted multi-purpose sports fields, a central restroom/concession/storage building, a maintenance building and storage compound, an inclusive playground, a paved 12-foot perimeter trail, site lighting, landscaping and hardscaping for the entire site.
The park should be ready by 2024.
A fall completion date is expected for an athletic/recreational complex in which the city has partnered with the Franklin Special School District for construction and funding.
Currently under construction, the facility is located along Highway 96 West between Freedom Middle School and Poplar Grove Schools with two 325-foot baseball fields enclosed via 200-foot fencing.
The park also comes with softball fields, concession areas, a pavilion, batting cages and the city’s first LED-lighting system. Planned walking trails will imbue the grounds with a broader capacity for public recreation.
“It will be a great benefit to the athletic program at FSSD,” Stuckey told the virtual audience at FrankTalks. “It will also give great additional recreational resources to the community. It’s going to serve both as a school facility and an enhanced parks facility with more programming throughout the year.”
Near that ballfield complex has been construction on the final leg of the multi-use trail that runs from Vera Valley Drive to Fifth Avenue in downtown Franklin. The city was able to acquire a $1 million federal grant through the Transportation Alternatives Program for the most recent stretch.
Completion is expected in April. The multi-use trail will be concrete and 10- to 12-feet in width, depending upon physical constraints. The trail will be designed to accommodate all users and will be compliant with all current ADA standards and guidelines.
“It’s already being used,” Stuckey said. “I was driving by there this morning and saw people using it. It will create a great opportunity to bike or walk into downtown.”
On the eastern side of downtown, construction continues on Franklin Road improvements. When complete, the roadway will be widened from two lanes to three from the Harpeth River bridge to Liberty Pike with easy access to the Factory at Franklin and the Park at Harlinsdale Farm. Other upgrades include:
- New bicycle lanes
- New sidewalks along both sides of the roadway
- Street trees
- New decorative street lighting
- Traffic signal upgrades at both Old Liberty Pike and Liberty Pike
- Relocating all overhead utilities into underground duct banks
- Upgrading older and undersized water and sanitary sewer utility lines
- Installing a new stormwater sewer system with catch basins and yard inlets
- Other miscellaneous streetscape enhancements.
Completion is scheduled for September, but the contractor can earn financial incentives if the project is finished by the end of May.
“This will really be a beautiful entryway into our downtown,” Stuckey said.
Finally, Franklin’s largest single project in its history — the new water reclamation facility with a price tag of $133 million — is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year. Located near Mack Hatcher Parkway and Hillsboro Road, the facility is being upgraded and expanded to where wastewater is treated at a very high level.
“We have an exciting technology we use to treat the solids that come out of this process,” Stuckey said. “Now we haul them to a landfill. This treatment process will turn them into an exceptional quality, Class A biosolid that can essentially be turned into a soil additive in agriculture and landscape work. We’ll be reusing it as a use for a byproduct. It’s a better use of our resources.”
Monday’s FrankTalks can be viewed by going to the Facebook page for Franklin Tomorrow.