Millions of infrastructure projects are planned this year all over Franklin.
Projects are not just a wish list. They are needed to improve traffic flow and public safety, Mayor Steve Barnett said of the long list of projects.
Barnett discussed several projects during his State of the Town address. The Franklin City Council unanimously approved $2.6 million for some of the projects in February.
The $2.6 million comes from more than $1.28 million of unspent money from last year and a special local income tax distribution of $1.33 million paid to the city, a correction made due to an understatement of income taxes collected by the state from people who work in Franklin. If the city is again able to secure $1 million in matching grant funds for Community Crossing, it plans to complete a total of $2.5 million in street and lane paving, including major works on South Street.
The full list of projects is worth millions and will be funded by many different sources, including the budget of the Board of Public Works and Safety, the Franklin Redevelopment Commission, and grants from the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization (IMPO).
Notable projects to be funded by the city’s redevelopment commission are a $1.5 million roundabout to be built this summer at Graham Road and Commerce Drive, $300,000 of paving on Bartram Parkway and the final two phases of the reconstruction of Jim Black Road, which is expected to cost more. over $871,000.
The roundabout was planned, but city officials moved the schedule for the Jim Black Road project forward due to special local income tax distribution and due to unexpectedly good bids for the project. As a result, the complete road reconstruction from State Road 44 to Upper Shelbyville Road will be completed this year instead of next, Barnett said.
The partially-funded IMPO-funded Yandes Street reconstruction project will be renewed in May and could start this year if all goes well, Barnett said. Construction was due to start last year but was delayed due to surprisingly high bids that exceeded the engineer’s estimate, he said.
The project was fine-tuned to get the best price for taxpayers, Barnett said.
The city was also able to secure additional funding from IMPO to make the project more affordable. IMPO has authorized $2.32 million in funding for the project, which is expected to cost around $3.7 million, according to the engineer’s latest estimate.
Many non-road infrastructure projects are also planned this year.
Franklin City Hall needs approximately $225,000 in repairs. Bricks are separating from the building causing water to drain inside the building and compromising the boardroom plinths. A crack in the masonry near the parapet invited a nesting bird, which entered the planning and engineering department, Barnett said.
Several pedestrian safety features will also be added this year, including a new sidewalk on Hospital Road between US 31 and Creekside Elementary School, and crosswalks on Hospital Road, Jackson Street at County West Annex of Johnson, as well as King Street and Middleton Road. The concrete wall and boardwalk at Jefferson and Main streets will also be repaired.
A $460,000 trail on West State Road 44 will be built with a grant from INDOT. The trail will connect nearby neighborhoods to Custer Baker Middle School.
The playing surfaces of the Morgan Park basketball, pickleball and tennis courts will also be repaired. Court surfaces have degraded over time, Barnett said.
Several projects that were on the mayor’s list of 2021 projects but could not be completed are back on the list this year, with money squeezed from last year’s budget to pay for them. This includes a decorative trash can in the alley near the Artcraft Theater and signage on a footpath on South Main Street.