Board rejects city hall offers

A Franklin city board rejected two proposals to turn the former city hall into a restaurant and shops or a new location for city court.

The Franklin redevelopment commission rejected both proposals and now will consider new ways to market the building, which has been vacant since city offices moved to East Monroe Street in 2009.

City councilman Ken Austin proposed using the building for the Franklin City Court. Franklin residents John and Lisa Talley also proposed remodeling the building as a restaurant and shops.

The board was concerned the Talleys didn’t have any businesses interested or committed to moving into the building, commission member Rob Henderson said. Board members told Lisa Talley to continue working on her idea and try to develop a more finalized plan for the building, Henderson said.

Mayor Joe McGuinness and other city council members were against the idea of using the building for city court. The city currently rents space from the county for the court and just renewed a three-year lease.

The redevelopment commission will discuss in July whether to hire a real estate agent to market the property or issue another request for proposals, Henderson said. The board also is considering designating what kind of business members would like to see in the building, such as a restaurant, which could help target certain developers, he said.

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