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December 13, 2007


Josh Strupp

This idea would be brilliant for the Shoppes project along Drexel (among other places) in my opinion. The question is what kind of cost would we be looking at in constructing something similiar to the concept in your article John? I'm not looking for an exact figure, but I would be interested in looking at other communities that have done this very tranformation in the past and what kind of pricetag was attached. Just curious.

Greg Kowalski

If I'm not mistaken, it was supposed to be MANDATORY for the Shoppes. If I read the Civic Center District section of the UDO, it leans heavily towards pedestrian-friendly and environmentally-friendly development and less on roads and sprawling parking lots.

But I could be mistaken.


Greg - the problem is how they define "it" and how "mandatory" Civic Center District guidelines are. The guidelines ended up being pretty elastic for the Shoppes site plan, and the city engineer already has bids on the Drexel reconstruction - and has picked a contractor - before a final design has been chosen.

Greg Kowalski

Ah yes, how could I forget all that maneuvering around specific pieces of the UDO just to get the hometown guy's wishes granted.

Maybe we should dub Franklin City Hall developers' "Cinderella's Castle."


Josh, pricing out such a project is complex to the extent that guys much smarter than me get paid lots of money to calculate these costs (though I will devote future blog entries to exploring these costs and, more importantly, who should bear them).

Problem is, there is no standard "per yardage" equation that I can take from, say, a project in Portland that would apply here with any relevance.

One thing is certain: Doing it right costs more than doing it wrong (i.e. the way we've been doing it).

ANOTHER thing is certain, though: In the not-too-distant future, we will be paying to fix today's poor design decisions, and it will cost much, much more at that point. AND we'll be missing the interim benefits that come from effective public spaces (not the least of which is an ACTIVE COMMERCIAL AREA).

But, looking back to a post I made on April 26th of this year and I have near-zero confidence in this administration's ability to rise to the occasion. Tell me if this sounds fishy to you:

(From April 26, 2007)

At the April 2nd Franklin Common Council Meeting, city engineer John Bennett reported that he'd been directed by the council - - a mere week earlier - - to negotiate an engineering contract for reconstruction of the stretch of Drexel Avenue between Loomis and Hwy. 100; i.e. right in front of the planned Shoppes at Wyndham Village development currently under discussion. Bennett recommended awarding the contract to McClure Engineering.

It should be noted that McClure is also employed by "Shoppes" developer Mark Carstensen.

"This is a city project, and should be a city project," Bennett said. "We've had developers build roads that they turned over to the city, they were on farm fields; when they did it, they didn't have to deal with the public like we're gonna have to deal with the public. And I think this should be a contractor that answers to the city where we have at least some control." (More on that intriguing and loaded statement in a later post....).

“We have a price for doing it,” Bennett then said, adding that the city can leave open the idea of shared costs with the "Shoppes" development agreement.

The question is: How can "we have a price for doing it"? Is Drexel's configuration already decided, and it's already too late to make this road useful for moving people as well as vehicles?

Greg Kowalski

Great work in incorporating the current civic center crisis currently going on in Franklin.

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