Tonight's Common Council agenda includes two development topics: the Crossroads intersection (Hwy 100 & Loomis) and the 27th Street Corridor. What stands out is how those two topics part ways in terms of priorities and vision.
The Crossroads agenda item is contained in a memo from Planning Manager Joel Dietl highlighting a newfound need to apparently emphasize certain aspects of how the area was/is to be developed. Dietl provides the Council with certain guidelines that were introduced and put in place years ago, of which he doesn't recommend any changes or modifications to. The only point-of-issue is the future reconstruction of the Hwy 100 & Loomis intersection, scheduled to take place in 2014, and how that would impact entrances & exits to the various parcels on-or-near the intersection.
Given that the Crossroads is within the Civic Center District (CC), this area should have been given a high priority for some time. Unfortunately, when it comes to projects outside the 27th Street Corridor there doesn't seem to be much motivation by some aldermen to put any effort in seeing something happen. To me, it highlights yet another significant disconnect between some aldermen and their constituents, since people in Franklin have been looking for a centralized "community destination" for many years to no avail. Actions speak louder than words, and the only actions being taken by the Common Council in terms of putting money where the mouth is, is along 27th Street.
27th Street's agenda item, to that effect, has a request from Alderman Solomon regarding public funding sources for the corridor. It highlights such items as TIF Districts and special assessments as such public funding tools being or could be used for development of the corridor. Given Solomon's rather outspoken support for developing the corridor as much as possible, I do not believe this discussion will be focused on reducing funding support for corridor enhancement, but rather quite the opposite. The TIF District covering the business park ceased last year, and politicially this opens up a possibility of creating a new TIF without too much pressure.
How frustrating to see, yet again, the 27th Street Corridor get the possibilities and encouragement to grow and develop, while other commercial zones, such as the CC, get shoved aside and ignored. If there should be any discussion on public funds for development corridors, it should be for the CC, where residents want to see new "community" development via shops, restaurants and town centers. Shame that some on the Council don't acknowledge the need of such community perks.