I was one of the optimists early on when developer Mark Carstensen announced an "upscale commercial lifestyle center" at the corner of Hwy. 100 and Drexel. Sure, it's in an odd spot, but I still felt there was a very good chance that Franklin would finally see a real community gathering point take root. I had high hopes for a well thought-out combination of buildings, sidewalks and natural features that would make The Shops a real jewel.
Then Target was announced as an anchor store. Well, I thought, perhaps if they really nail the details things could still work out.
No such luck, evidently.
The map below is on file with the DNR, and it is utterly flabbergasting; a truly craptacular ocean of asphalt surrounded by typical strip mall-type buildings on setbacks. That's right - - passersby will be treated to the sight of parking lots.
The Heritage Oaks woods is utterly disregarded and will be swept aside by Sendik's as if the planners were incapable of creating any shape other than a rectangle. The "water feature" is arbitrary, and, yes, that HUGE area marked "Asphalt" is indeed just that. Lots of it. This thing is practically retro - - it could have been proposed in 1975.
So here's the question: Is there no one on the common council or plan commission who will stand up and hold Mr. Carstensen to a higher standard?
Or, is this strip mall all that the city of Franklin deserves?
Additional environmental concerns contributed by Cheryl via comments:
This project is expected to cause significant destruction of wetland resources and environmental corridor tributary to the Root River, and negatively affect several plant species of Special Concern and the Lake Chubsucker (fish of special concern). While everyone supports sound economic development, we should not support the takings of important natural resources in the process.
The present design will impact an environmental corridor of significant historical value including wetlands that filter water prior to reaching the Root River. This 38.7 acre development project has enough acreage (and open farm fields) to allow business development if properly designed so that the proposed Sendiks and Target are not placed on top of existing wetlands and habitat for species of concern. We can and must do better! Franklin should also encourage development that encourages infiltration and treatment of runoff through pervious pavement, bioretention facilities, and vegetated swales to minimize impacts to the water quality and wildlife of the Root River.