Mixed use a good start

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Franklin Planning Commission’s decision to recommend rezoning the downtown business district for mixed-use is a positive step toward the revitalization of Downtown Franklin, although we recognize that it does create some concerns. First, the creation of residential units over existing businesses will further tax an already challenging parking situation. Secondly, the ratio of rental properties to owned properties is already sky high. Those issues notwithstanding, however, allowing for mixed use downtown should ultimately prove to be positive for a struggling local economy. Merely converting unused space over existing storefronts will not do the trick, but putting into place minimum standards and then enforcing the building codes will. Young professionals, those most likely to be enthused by an opportunity to live in quality housing downtown, could give a shot in the arm to downtown development as potential investors see a built-in customer base right above their very stores. It is not going to change anything overnight, but at this point any step is one in the right direction.