Two 34-foot-tall monuments would welcome visitors and residents into Franklin, before they drive through a tree-lined boulevard with landscaped medians and new trails.

King Street, west of Interstate 65, would seem narrower, with trees, bushes and flowers along the shoulders of the road, instead of the wide stretches of pavement that exist today. And a new trail along the road would connect to existing sidewalks and paths weaving through the city, allowing walkers, joggers and bikers to get from one end of Franklin to the other on a continuous trail.

That’s the city’s vision for a new entrance into the city off I-65, which they hope will entice visitors to venture into Franklin from the interstate and attract new businesses to the east side.

Now, the city has to decide what should be done first and plan for the work as part of a continuing project to rebuild Jefferson and King streets. The city acquired the former State Road 44 west of I-65 in 2014, and as part of the deal Franklin was given $12.8 million from the state for the maintenance of the road.

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The city was able to get a total of $20 million for the reconstruction project through four separate federal or state grants, city engineer Travis Underhill said.

King Street, west of Interstate 65, would seem narrower, with trees, bushes and flowers along the shoulders of the road, instead of the wide stretches of pavement that exist today. And a new trail along the road would connect to existing sidewalks and paths weaving through the city, allowing walkers, joggers and bikers to get from one end of Franklin to the other on a continuous trail.

At a glance

Initial designs of a new entrance to King Street were presented to residents Monday night. Here’s a look at what’s next for the project:

  • In the next six months, final designs and plans will be presented.
  • Work to improve the King Street entrance could start later this year, but officials still are planning what should be done first.
  • The King Street improvement project could be mostly finished by the end of next year.

Pull Quote

“We have put a lot of our resources into what we have in the downtown court, so now we want to make it warm and inviting for those people who aren’t from Franklin to come in and spend their money and visit our local retailers, our local restaurants and our bed-and-breakfasts.”

Franklin Mayor Joe McGuinness, on plans to improve King Street on the city’s east side