As Franklin reemerges, exciting things are brewing!
As life reemerges in Franklin, the Town is bustling with energy and new priorities. The summer's been busy, so I'm excited to share progress in chipping away at the goals laid out in my campaign values (https://www.cobifrongillo.com/values/)!
1. New Priorities - Franklin is learning to invest in ourselves
Open Space and Recreation
On Wednesday, the Council voted for the first time ever to exercise our "right of first refusal" on the sale of a protected property. The Maple Hill property- 70 acres of trail-laden, old-growth forest that abuts numerous neighborhoods, schools, and public lands between Maple and Lincoln street - presents a fantastic opportunity to prioritize open space and recreation. The Town's purchase will be partially funded through the newly-formed Community Preservation Fund.
The Council adopted the Complete Streets framework- opening the Town to state funding for safe and accessible transportation improvements - and are in the process of creating our first strategic planto examine the pedestrian, biking, and public transportation impacts of future infrastructure projects.
Following the launch of our new Business Guide, the Economic Development Committee (EDC) continued actively seeking ways to help our struggling businesses and open up new opportunities for innovative businesses. To date, the Council has approved the removal of unnecessary restrictions on local taprooms and the allowance for food trucks on private property.
Legislation to reduce stifling parking minimums downtown is awaiting final Council approval, and the EDC is considering legislation to allow for micro-retail in residential spaces (i.e. a small-scale artisans or bakers). Both changes will help spur economic investment in Town.
The Town has received first-time state grants to invest in both community pop-up shops (temporary spaces Downtown where entrepreneurs can test out their business idea) and shared streets(temporarily opening up Main Street to pedestrians, bikes, and on-street dining). The initiatives were priorities of mine, and I will continue working with Town Administration to ensure the funds are allocated properly.
In personal news, I am excited to have accepted a new job in May with the state legislature's Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy! The TUE Committee - currently Chaired by Franklin State Rep. Jeffrey Roy - is working to ensure Massachusetts remains a leader the clean energy transition.