City wants to beautify ‘gateways’

Published 10:36 am Saturday, February 6, 2010

FRANKLIN—Franklin officials want to make the city more attractive and inviting to new businesses and industry, so they want to beautify the city’s “gateways.”

The city Planning Commission and the Beautification Commission are joining forces to host the Gateway Enhancement Plan public forum. The forum will look at ways to render the streets and roads that lead into the city more attractive.

“The Planning Commission felt like it’s more important now than ever that the gateways to the city be beautified to reflect how the city wants to market itself in the future to draw business and visitors to the city,” said Donald Goodwin, the city’s director of community development.

He said that the plan has been in the works for several years, but it’s now getting to the point where it’s a “completed document.”

Goodwin said the Planning Commission thought that it was important to that the plan be presented in a public forum to solicit input from the community and provide details for property owners.

“I think the main thrust now is the city needs to rethink how we’re going to market ourselves,” Goodwin said.

He said implementing the plan would likely be a long process.

“It’s going to be a 10- to 20-year timeline probably,” Goodwin said, unless the city can get help from businesses and developers or others in the private sector.

With the closure of International Paper Co.’s Franklin mill coming this spring, Goodwin said it’s important that the city be able to attract businesses and industry to the area.

“This is certainly one of the tools that we can use,” he said. “It’s not going to be the only thing.”

Armory Drive and Second Avenue are Franklin’s most heavily traveled gateway corridors. According to 2008 data from the Virginia Department of Transportation, the streets carried 14,000 and 10,000 vehicles per day, respectively.

The forum is scheduled for Thursday at City Hall from 6 to 7:30 p.m., with a short presentation at 6:30 p.m.