Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Live reporting - Emmons St public meeting

Jeff Nutting opens with an overview of the evening, some conceptual drawings to be presented a couple of minutes each, followed by general discussion

photos of some of the design proposals from Allevato interns

Meghan's first up to describe her concept

Nick Testa's conceptual drawing
a park with Horace Mann theme, open to multiple 
Andrew Javier presenting for Juan who couldn't make it tonight
food stands, food trucks, and farmers market space

Corinne Javier presenting along with Andrew

mixed use retail or offices, with park space, terraced for performance space

Axel and David collaborated on this
a gravity well soaking everything in, build on this concept of urban fabric, the park as a gateway, a gem
mom and pop deli or intranet cafe

UMass Student coudn't be here tonight
UMass student couldn't be here tonight

The sale price would be dependent upon the use of the land and possible building. Lease option could also be considered.

The park would depend upon how much space would be used for it vs. the remainder of the lot, placement of the building, etc.

* Lisa Piana, Downtown Partnership Executive Director, presenting goals collected from the partnership members

  • enhance downtown center and support the downtown businesses
  • gateway property
  • encourage foot traffic and avoid traffic issues
  • safety of the area

Dean College students already cross in many spots in that area
Thanks to the Economic Development Committee for involving us in the planning process
We are happy to continue to work on this important piece of the downtown

* Paul Cheli, member of the Citizens Committee
important Recreation Dept already located in this space, need to maximize the revenue from the property to enhance what the Rec Dept does

  1. up front money to relocate the Rec Dept
  2. ongoing revenue of more than $20K per year
  3. reputation of the developer

If there is a desire for a park, there is a longer list of waiting for senior housing before

* Brian Kelly, Facilities Director for Dean College
highly interested in working with the town on development of the space
While economic growth is critical, folks will pay more for space closer to home that is green space and recreation
parks revived demand for neighboring office space in NYC according to a study quoted
organized events at the parks generate other revenues for neighboring businesses
where the sense of community is strong, the crime rates are down
it is not for the Dean students, this is for Franklin

* Sue Sheridan, representing the Franklin Art Association
agree that this property should be for community use, should not be just retail space
looking for space all over to get space to hold their art shows, forced to go to the library in Bellingham for their recent show
pursuing a cultural district designation, should be a cultural space, public performance space
perhaps even an art museum, get a 501(c)(3) org to leverage grants from the State to explore this

* AK Bistro owner
where is everybody going to park? you have to put the infrastructure in place before people can gather
there is a retail space next to us that is hard to fill because they are worried about parking
there needs to be more space for people to gather

* Jeff Roy, State Representative for Franklin and Medway
delighted to see that the proposals included a status of Horace Mann
since we are his birthplace, it is a shame that we don't have a fitting memorial place to recognize him
The FSPA are going to bring a live theater into that area
green space does have a way to bring people
the proposals are great ways to use this space
we are the home of the birthplace of the father of education

*Jim Schultz, member of the partnership
founded and based upon culture, arts, books, etc.
lesson from Lehigh Valley after the steel mills left, provide space where art and farmers can sell their wares
in all cases, the spaces are filled on the weekends
don't look short term on the sale proceeds, look long term to preserve art and culture

* (add name)
affordable care act, folks are utilizing the ER for their care
there is space downstairs could be used as a free clinic
a big supporter of what they want but also what they need, medical services, free legal services
not for selling it outright

*Debbie Pellegri, Town Clerk
it was the Horace Mann High School at one point and torn down
it needs to be a better building, a better design
I see too many brick buildings
we would love to see some green space
we have been talking about this for years, where we could put the status for Horace Mann
garden, gateway, welcome to Franklin
keep or sell, developer would be willing to work with us

* Tina Guarnio, retired art teacher
kids love art, they need a place to shine
having an area in this spot would be wonderful for the kids as well as the adults involved in the arts

* Gary Carrentino (?)
a triangle park in downtown Providence
weekend, farmers market, kids crafts,
Weds and Sat, look at it and see and bring it back here

* Bob Brown, resident
I see a parking garage in there, it wouldn't be any uglier than what is already there
the box theater would be looking for parking
parking in downtown gets people there
it could be a revenue generator

* Judy Pfeffer, Town Council
where does anyone think we are going to find a million dollars to put a park
a children's park on that corner is the worse space
it is a money thing, we don't have the capability to take this off the tax rolls

* AK Bistro owner clarify position
parking is needed,the geography is what it is, teach people that you can walk from one side to another
if you provide the resources to actually come downtown, there will be an incentive for businesses to come
there is a retraining that needs to happen

* Brian Kelly, again
evidence shows it brings revenue to town, it might not be much right now but it will be there forever

* Pandora Carlucci,
thanks for inviting the participation, I never thought about having the clinic and coupling the needs of the Food Pantry
think about who we are, we have before us an opportunity to consider what we want
it is a complicated decision
I drive by this site everyday, sometimes multiple times a day
we are very fortunate to be able to make this decision, we have time to make the decision
thank you for including Horace Mann

* Joel D'Errico, resident
 would like to touch on what Cheli mentioned to see if it could be kept in the municipal use
we have the need for retired senior housing, housing authority would control folks that live there
it would increase the foot traffic downtown

* Jeff Nutting
outside engineering evaluation on the road conditions, approx 45-50 million needed to bring the roads to currency; the council will put on for consideration, a debt override to put money to the roads and sidewalks
some years we can give money for roads, some years we can't
would people support a dedicated override, not a regular override, but dedicated to this purpose, a provision added later

* Cheli
45-50 M is a conservative answer

Davis Thayer may be closed in a couple of year given the student population decline

* Andy Bissanti, Town Council
what would you perceive of the timing and construction for the project?

* Calareese
would be dictated by the RFP,
it is important that the curb cuts get integrated prior to the project to get done

* Glenn Jones, Town Council
thanks for coming out tonight for sharing your ideas

* Nutting
any money from the sale of this building could be used for any other project that would be a similar asset
$20-30,000/space estimated for above ground parking garage

* Beth Dahlstrom, Town Planner
could the town use CPA funds?

* Nutting
explains the Community Preservation Act, there is a lot of communities that have joined
the real estate market isn't what it was, it failed at the ballot box before
it would be a tough issue to balance

* Rae Lynn Mercer, FSPA Director
opening the Black Box at 15 W Central St
currently responsible for a lot of traffic downtown
thrilled that the project has come full circle to come downtown
I hope that this decision is dealt with carefully and with the big picture
we happen to have a beautiful Town Common but it is not downtown
the economic impact of art and entertainment needs to be considered as the gateway
our theater with Artistry Kitchen could help to transform Franklin
we need to be careful about the big picture
focus on culture and gathering space

meeting closed

The documents that were handed out that night were shared online later and can be found here

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