The four-sided structure was delivered and put into place last month but left mostly covered up tightly. On Saturday morning, Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce director Jodi Lewis and Franklin Retail & Business Association coordinator Jennifer Taylor cut away the ropes and tore back to the plastic to unveil the fruits of a yearslong community collaboration.
“It takes a lot of steps to make something happen,” Taylor said at the informal kiosk debut. She traced the start of the project back to an idea shared during a retail association meeting several years ago when a member suggested the city could benefit from having a posted directory similar to what is often seen at malls. The thought was that directories in the parking lot and similar pedestrian-friendly areas would help visitors find all the shops and restaurants located downtown and understand the variety of offerings in Franklin.
While the group liked the overall idea, it was somewhat out of their price range at the time. Then earlier this year, Taylor received another suggestion from Ronnie Beith. She noted the group could apply for Oil Region National Heritage mini-grant available for sign-related projects, according to Taylor.
To make their application, the retail association needed to partner with an eligible non-profit group willing to receive and spend the funds accordingly. That is where Franklin Moving Forward and the Franklin chamber stepped in to facilitate as needed. “We had the matching funds,” Taylor said of the retail association’s role in getting the application process through successfully.
The City of Franklin was also instrumental in the project’s success, allowing for the use of an area along the sidewalk between Liberty Street and Fountain Park, which Lewis called one of downtown’s “most walkable spaces.” The city also provided a new cement pad where the kiosk was installed.
“It took a lot of people working together,” Taylor said.
The four sides of the kiosk have permanent plaques bearing the logos of all the groups that contributed to the construction and installation.
On Saturday, the windows were empty because the kiosk had not been opened at all before the unveiling and the final touches were still being made to the map, according to Taylor.
Lewis said she can't wait to see it finished off with the completed maps and ads.“Now that it is here, I can see them in the parking lots.”