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Lot upgrades planned for farmers market

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Franklin will spend $11,600 in tax dollars for some upgrades to the parking lot where the city hosts weekly farmers markets.

The Franklin Redevelopment Commission approved spending the money for maintenance work at the former Oren Wright lot at Jackson and Jefferson streets, which is now a public parking lot. Discover Downtown Franklin hosts markets on Saturdays in the lot throughout the summer, with the first event planned for May 10.

The money is coming from tax funds from the city’s tax-increment financing districts, which set aside some taxes collected from businesses for infrastructure and economic development.

Brick pavers that act as a small sidewalk in the lot are crumbling and could trip someone walking around the market, Discover Downtown Franklin director Tara Payne said. Those repairs are expected to cost about $1,000.

The city will also spend about $5,000 on electrical upgrades to make it easier for people to plug in small speakers for live entertainment, she said. The remaining money will be used to buy two benches, four picnic tables and pay for a portable toilet service that will be available each weekend.

Discover Downtown Franklin also wants to add a decorative wrought-iron arch that would be added over the staircase down to the lot from Jackson Street. The redevelopment commission will consider buying the arch, which costs $6,000, in May.

The redevelopment commission owns the property but is not planning to sell or try to develop the property at this time. City officials expect a part of the lot will be used as a staging area for construction when Jefferson Street is being rebuilt downtown in 2016.

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