For years, a more attractive entrance into Franklin has been envisioned.
Visitors would find newly paved streets, some made of brick like years ago, with smooth sidewalks and trails, trees and landscaping lining the roads and lighting and benches welcoming shoppers and walkers. The goal was to revitalize the main entrances into the city — along U.S. 31, Jefferson Street, State Road 44 and Main Street.
Now, that work is finally beginning. But not where you’d expect.
A city board has approved paying more than $3 million for the first phase of work to what has become known as the gateway project. The work includes repaving streets, including bricking some, adding new curbs and sidewalks, planting new landscaping and trees and installing new lighting and benches.
The work will be done on South Main Street, south of the courthouse, Monroe Street, in front of city hall, and East and West Court streets, which run on each side of the county courthouse.
Work along other main roads, such as U.S. 31 and Jefferson Street, and near Interstate 65, isn’t planned to start until later.
City officials wanted to avoid Jefferson Street right now because the courthouse is listed as a national historic site and doing construction around a historic site requires a longer review process by the state, planning director Krista Linke said.