Love’s project includes upgrades

Published 10:12 am Friday, May 3, 2013

FRANKLIN—The new Love’s Travel Stop, coming to Franklin, will be located on a 20-acre tract on South Street, near the Highway 58 bypass. Traveling South Street toward Murfreesboro, the land is on the left prior to the Highway 58 exit.

When the economic news was announced Tuesday, Franklin City Manager Randy Martin said the Love’s project “is the first piece of a much bigger commercial project, which is but a small section of a grander vision for the entire corridor.”

Every speaker at Tuesday’s announcement mentioned the partnership between Franklin and Southampton County and the assistance of the Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc. in pursuing long-term goals.

“With this project as a catalyst, the 58 corridor will provide a gateway to the Franklin-Southampton community for the more than 30,000 vehicles per day that use this route for commerce and pleasure,” Martin said.

The Love’s project will include much-needed infrastructure upgrades as well. A connector road will be constructed on the tract purchased by Love’s. John Janson LLC, the developer who bought the entire 62-acre tract, will pay a portion of the price of constructing the road further and the city will also pay a portion.

Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn explained that the road will be a new corridor for traffic to and from Pretlow. She and Martin said the service road will offer a vehicular traffic alternative and improve street connectivity.

Martin further explained that water lines will be extended from the South Street/College Drive intersection to the county line, also funded in partnership with Love’s, Janson and the city. Martin said the lines will be 12 inches in diameter and will improve the water flow and pressure, as well as provide much-needed fire protection.

For the future, Martin and Johnson-Ashburn both stressed that the water line would then be available for commercial and industrial development.

A big recreational aspect of the project will be a bicycle trail along the access route to Pretlow, which will go all the way to the Industrial Park. The multi-use paved trail will be 10-feet wide for cycling and walking, and will tie-in with the city’s 2007 Bike and Pedestrian Plan.

FSEDI’s CEO Amanda Jarratt praised Mayor Johnson-Ashburn and the city’s forward thinking and commitment to accommodate the future.

In turn, the mayor praised Jarratt for all of her hard work.

Jarratt said a site plan would be submitted over the next six weeks and that an aggressive construction schedule would be pursued, with hopes of breaking ground in the first quarter of 2014.

Love’s website ( states the Love’s Travel Stops offer food from a national restaurant chain, trucking supplies, convenience center, tire center, filling station and truck station.

The project will result in a $7 million investment and approximately 50 new jobs for the area.