For years, a piece of land near downtown Franklin has been nothing more than grass and trees after five homes were torn down.

The homes, which were at 459, 481, 499, 501 and 525 E. Jefferson St., were bulldozed between 2010 and 2012 after they were damaged in the 2008 flood. Four of the homes were included in the city’s buyout of 66 flood-damaged homes, and one was donated to the city.

Since the homes were demolished, city officials have not made any plans for what to do with the 1.5-acre piece of property that borders Hurricane Creek. A sidewalk and curbed driveway entrances still remain where the homes used to be.

Story continues below gallery

Now, the city is applying for a grant to turn the five properties into a small park, city engineer Travis Underhill said.

The park, which city officials are calling a flood reflection garden, will include benches, picnic tables, landscaping and signs to commemorate the organizations that helped the city with the flood buyout, Underhill said. The park will be smaller than others in the city, with 10 to 15 parking spots, Underhill said.

Turning the vacant land into a park will cost about $150,000, Underhill said.

If the city gets the state grant, the maximum amount would be $50,000, Underhill said. The city has to match at least one-and-a-half times the amount of the grant, or at least $75,000, Underhill said. The city board of public works approved spending about $107,000 needed to qualify for the grant.

If the city receives the grant, Underhill said, he expects the park to be done by late next year.

The grant application is due to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs by Dec. 5.