The Town Council held a work session last Wednesday to hear proposals from the Parks Department about the future of Franklin Park.
Clay Chafin presented several proposals, which the Council then modified into one plan to present for public comment.
The first proposal, presented as Option 1, changed very little about the park. Parking was added at the north side by relocating the basketball court. The trail system was extended to loop completely around the park. The diamonds remain as they are with only minor improvements to the dugouts on the smaller diamonds.
This proposal is fantastic and directly reflects the input of the residents around Franklin Park.
Option 2 involved replacing Anderson Field and adding a road along the north side of the park (and more parking). Though the road would not hook up with North Street, it would instead run parallel, emptying onto Mill Street.
Council members were, thankfully, skeptical about removing the big diamond (Anderson Field) and instead suggested moving the fence in left field forward 10-20 feet to provide room for the road.
This modified Option 2 is what will be presented to the public for comment.
Concerning the new road, Clay Chafin and several of the Councilors seem keen on the idea that traffic in the park should flow one way, and that such an arrangement will make the park safer for the kids. I am sympathetic to the safety concerns at the park. There are ball diamonds on both sides of the road serving the park, and kids routinely run back and forth across the road. However, I am not sure how making traffic flow one way will make improve this situation. I am also concerned that, in order to re-route traffic, a new road will be added to the north side of the park, thereby introducing cars into a section of the park previously spared from this intrusion.
Generally, I was pleased with the plans Clay proposed. I felt our concerns were largely addressed and I look forward to the next phase – diving into the nitty-gritty of road and traffic planning. Fun! Meetings for public comment will be announced soon; there will be one in mid-December and one in mid-January.