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Grants fuel restaurant’s renovation

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Donations and grants are helping pay for about half the cost to renovate a downtown Franklin restaurant.

Construction workers started renovation work on Ann’s Restaurant this month to give the restaurant a 1950s diner motif. The restaurant opened in 1952, so the new look will help capture the feeling of downtown Franklin at the time, Tara Treatment center chief executive officer Theresa Matthews said.

More than $80,000 in grants and donations from local foundations are being used for the $200,000 renovation, Tara program development director Paul Bryan said. The largest chunk of funding came from the Franklin Development Corp., which provided a $50,000 matching façade grant.

The Johnson County Community Foundation also provided a $2,500 grant toward the façade work, which isn’t typically the kind of project the foundation would fund, grant committee member Seth Perigo said. But since revenue from Ann’s Restaurant helps fund addiction treatment at Tara, the new look and increased seating will help make the nonprofit more sustainable, Perigo said.

Patients from the treatment center are able to work at the restaurant to help transition back into an everyday routine after battling drug or alcohol addiction, Matthews said.

The restaurant at 77 W. Monroe St., just south of the courthouse, also hosts local Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and serves as a meeting place for outpatient programs, so the building is more than just a local eatery, she said.

“When people come in here and buy a meal they are giving back to the life of others. It’s not just the life of the addict, it’s their family members and by them making changes in those lives, it’s changing their children’s and ultimately communities are changed,” Matthews said.

The restaurant has remained open so far, but Ann’s will close Saturday until Sept. 2, Matthews said. The two-week closure will allow workers to quickly finish interior renovations instead of trying to work around diners, which should shave several weeks off the work.

The renovation should be complete by the end of October, she said.

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