Saturday, May 14, 2016

2016 Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP) - draft for review and comment

"Enclosed please find a copy of the Town of Franklin’s draft 2016 Open Space and Recreation Plan for your review, comment. The official comment period is 5/16/16 through 6/16/16 and a public hearing on the Draft Plan has been scheduled by the Conservation Commission on May 26, 2016 at 7:20 in the Town Council Chambers. 

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or require any additional information."

George Russell, AICP
Conservation Agent

To submits comments contact the Conservation Commission at:
Town of Franklin 
Attn: Conservation Commission 
355 East Central Street 
Franklin, MA 02038 


This 2016 Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP) is an update of the Town of Franklin’s 2001 and 2008 Open Space and Recreation Plans. The 2001 Plan was prepared for Franklin as well as two other communities, Bellingham and Blackstone, and addressed the region as well as each community. The 2008 OSRP document addressed only the open space and recreation issues and resources relevant to the Town of Franklin. The 2016 OSRP continues with a detailed a practical approach to preservation of public and privately owned open space through growth management techniques, public awareness, management of existing Town owned open space, enhancement of existing and development of new recreation resources and the continued protection of natural resources.

In fall 2015, the Franklin Conservation Commission assumed the task of overseeing and preparing the update of the OSRP. Assisted by Franklin’s Department of Planning and Community Development, Park and Recreation Department and Public Works Department, the Commission assessed the Town’s open space preservation and recreation needs; gathered input from residents regarding personal priorities, desires, and perceived needs; developed the OSRP’s goals, objectives, and five year action plan; and reviewed and edited draft versions of the OSRP. In addition, a re-evaluation of the accessibility of the Town's open space and recreation facilities was conducted (see Appendix C), an inventory of the Town's open space, recreation, and conservation properties (see Appendix B) was updated, and descriptions of the Town's substantial resources were compiled, updated and included in the OSRP.

Since the 2008 Plan was approved, progress has been made on the Goals and Objectives included in that Plan. Among them are:

  • Through a student project working with the Conservation and Engineering Departments, installed informational signage at the DelCarte Recreation Area (Goal 1, objective 1.1)
  • Created a map of the entire Town’s recreation and park areas. (Goal 1 objective 1.2) (Also objective 4.4a in the 2013 Master Plan)
  • A butterfly park was constructed in the King Street Memorial Park in 2014 as a school project and it has been well received and highly successful. (Goal 1, objective 1.2)
  • DCR and the Franklin Conservation Commission have permitted improvements to the SNETT trail from Prospect Street in Franklin into Bellingham. (Goal 3, objectives 3.4 & 3.5)
  • A major dam renovation project, canoe launches, a boardwalk over portions of a pond and a 5-12 age appropriate playground were completed in the DelCarte Recreation area all of which increase access to all sections of the area. (Goal 2, objective 2.1, Goal 3, objectives 3.1 and 3.2) 
  • Developed a 2-12 age appropriate playground at Fletcher Field (Goal 3, objectives 3.1 and 3.2)
  • Developed an ADA compliant sculpture park, with walking areas and benches adjacent to the Franklin Police station (Goal 3, objectives 3.1 and 3.2)
  • Erected a bridge via an Eagle Scout Project in conjunction with the Town Conservation and Engineering Departments over a stream crossing in the Town’s disk gold course. (Goal 2, objective 2.1, Goal 3, objectives 3.1 and 3.2)
  • Developed a dog park at the Dacey Recreation Area. (Goal 3, objective 3.2)

The 2016 OSRP includes numerous goals, objectives and proposed actions that were the result of input from a large number of Town residents. This input was provided at two public hearings, during regular committee meetings, in letters and emails, during meetings with Town personnel and non-profit organizations, and through two citizen participation questionnaires (see Appendix F). Based on this input, it was determined that there is a desire to develop additional passive recreation areas within the Town and to improve existing recreational facilities. Specifically, Franklin’s residents’ wish for the Town to provide new bike trails, obtain and increase management of conservation lands, and provide community based areas such as bike trails, hiking trails, a youth center and swimming pools.

The open space and recreation planning process resulted in four main goals and related objectives and a five-year action plan that outlines specific tasks to meet the Town's open space and recreation goals. The goals within the updated 2016 OSRP were developed based on public input and the Conservation Commission believes these goals reflect the priorities of the Town’s residents. In general, the goals of the community should be to obtain (as needed), improve, and make fully accessible, the proper balance of active and passive recreational and conservation resources, while maintaining the community as a suburban center with a rural quality. The Town’s primary open space and recreation goals are as follows: 

GOAL 1: Increase public awareness of open space and recreation opportunities in Franklin
GOAL 2: Preserve and enhance existing Town open space resources.
GOAL 3: Maximize recreational opportunities to meet the community’s evolving needs by maintaining current inventory of facilities and programs and by providing new facilities and programs for both active and passive recreation.
GOAL 4: Protect natural, historical and cultural resources and maintain Franklin's New England character.
GOAL 5: Preserve and Protect the Town’s Water Resources.

The OSRP’s implementation, and achievement of the above goals, will require the
commitment of a broad variety of organizations and individuals, including non-profit
organizations, state agencies, resident volunteers, and Town departments, boards,
commissions, and committees. Through the combined efforts of all parties mentioned
above the Town feels confident that the OSRP can be implemented to meet the prescribed goals over the five-year planning period.

overflow parking lot at Wachusetts St for Fletcher Field
overflow parking lot at Wachusetts St for Fletcher Field

The full report can be found here or on the Town of Franklin webpage

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