Promoting a vision for downtown

Published 11:16 am Friday, June 16, 2017

For the past few months, many people especially concerned about Downtown have been working on a definite plan to make it into a thriving district. On Tuesday, June 20, the first phase will begin with a public hearing from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Franklin Business Center.

According to Dan Howe, executive director of the Downtown Franklin Association, people are invited to visit and “share their thoughts.” He described the event as a “floating” program in which people can come and go within that time; light refreshments will be served.

He also said on Thursday, “The Virginia Main Street Program awarded us a Downtown Investment Grant of $5,500, which has secured Sarah Milston, founder of and consultant for The Spark Mill LLC from Richmond.

“Come help us shape the future of Downtown Franklin.”

The Vision of the Future Team was founded based on an initiative from Mayor Frank Rabil, who is the sponsor. In the charter, the group’s purpose is stated: “To develop a vision for a vibrant and prosperous downtown Franklin, Virginia.”

The “deliverables,” as they are called in the charter are: “A comprehensive vision statement and strategy with a clear definition of roles and responsibilities for each stakeholder group and an implementation plan to accomplish and monitor.”

Those stakeholders are the Downtown Franklin Association, the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc., Divas and Dudes, property owners and their customers.

The team itself is made of the DFA’s Howe and Jackie Newsome; property owners Jackie Cutchin and Mike Smith; Chamber: Teresa Beale and Pam Lease; FSEDI: Harriett Duck and Amanda Jarratt; and Diva members Debbie Crowder and Mary Christie Morris.