PHOTO: Machinery and other signs of construction dot the landscape where work on the Mack Hatcher northwest expansion is well underway. / Photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
As Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey and two of his staff gave an overview of projects currently underway and those possibly to come during Monday morning’s FrankTalks lecture, one garnered a round of applause.
“The Mack Hatcher Parkway northwest expansion is underway, and it’s been a long time coming,” Stuckey said of the project that will connect Hillsboro Road to Highway 96 West near the Westhaven community. “This community was designed in mind for this to happen this way. I don’t know if we would have built Westhaven if we didn’t know Mack Hatcher was going to be built… So it’s critical for this community, and it helps the whole west side of Franklin. It helps us to connect people from where they live to where they work and shop.”
The $45-million project, which is expected to be completed within three years, was one of several Stuckey described along with Paul Holzen, Franklin’s director of Engineering, and Lisa Clayton, the city’s Parks director. The projects are part of the 10-year capital plan developed in 2017 and have a price tag of around $376 million.
“These are phase 1, or tier 1, of projects we’ve been working on since 2017,” Stuckey said. “Some of them have been completed, some have just gotten underway and some will be getting underway in the near term.”
Stuckey, Holzen and Clayton also went over a list of projects in the 2019-28 Capital Investment Program. Those projects haven’t been approved, but have been weighted in order of priority by city alderman and staff. The estimated total of these projects is $150 million.
In addition to the Mack Hatcher extension, plenty of dirt is also being moved for projects ranging from filling in sidewalk gaps throughout the city to the massive water reclamation undertaking that broke ground in December. Located behind Franklin High School, the waste water treatment plant is being restructured at a cost of $132 million.
“That is the single largest project in [Franklin’s] history,” Stuckey said. “It will expand our treatment capacity from 12 million gallons a day to 16 million gallons a day. It will update our treatment capability to an even higher level. We already treat at about the highest level in Tennessee, and we want to make sure we continue to do so decades to come.”
This project is expected to be completed in about three years.
Of the projects on the horizon, the overwhelming pick for No. 1 was the Long Lane overpass on Interstate 65 at an estimated cost of $22 million. It would connect to Old Peytonsville Road.
“This was a strong No. 1,” Stuckey said. “This was clearly identified by the board as a need.”
Four of the weighted projects were either development of new parks, improvements to existing parks or construction of greenways. For instance, the space that was once a boot factory along North Margin Street between First and Third avenues would become the key section of Bicentennial Park. The existing pavilions, which stretch over the length of a football field, would be upgraded and the whole sight could host festivals and other events. The estimated cost is $4.2 million.
The list also includes the redevelopment of City Hall in downtown Franklin.
“City Hall itself is really past its lifespan,” Stuckey explained. “It is in need, and we find that out every time it rains. It’s just time to move forward with a new facility.” Estimated cost is just over $24 million.