A downtown Franklin alley pedestrians routinely use to get to businesses and shops is about to get a facelift that also will make the area safer.

The Franklin Redevelopment Commission approved spending up to $200,000 to bury utilities, repave and add decorative features to the alley between Water and East Court streets, next to Benjamin’s Coffeehouse. But the project won’t cost that much, Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett said.

The work is similar to what has been done to other alleys in downtown Franklin, including near the Artcraft theater, Barnett said.

But while this will improve the look of the alley, which many visitors use to walk to businesses and the courthouse on the downtown square, it will also make the area safer, Barnett said.

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City officials have been looking for areas where utility lines can be buried to make those areas look nicer, but in this case, that would also be safer. Some of the restaurants in that area are looking to add more outdoor seating, and getting rid of the electrical boxes and burying the lines would make the area safer for people sitting outside, Barnett said.

The alley also will be repaved, which will help with issues the buildings have had with water seeping inside, Barnett said.

The redevelopment commission approved spending up to $200,000 from the city’s tax-increment financing, or TIF districts, which set aside property taxes paid by certain businesses for the work. But Barnett expects the cost to do the work will be lower, he said.

Work is set to start in the next few weeks, he said. The project will also add decorative features and barricades to stop vehicles from driving down the alley, and a trash enclosure, he said.

The city also has done work to improve other alleys in the downtown area, including near the Elks Lodge and the theater.

The work will go along with improvements to other downtown buildings, including along Court Street, redevelopment commission member Bob Heuchan said.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.