PHOTO: Middle Tennessee State University’s marching band kicked off the Veteran’s Day Parade on November 10, 2017 / Photo by Brooke Wanser
By BROOKE WANSER
Festival and tourism season is upon Franklin, beginning with Main Street Festival, which is expected to draw 130,000 visitors to downtown next weekend.
Though sidewalks set to be constructed along Franklin Road over the next few years will help with congestion, parking and maneuvering downtown is still a challenge during large events.
Several locals shared their tips and tricks with the Home Page to parking and navigating with ease during community events like Main Street and Pilgrimage Festival.
Holly McCall, downtown Franklin resident:
“Arrive for the festival early, because you want to get the best parking spots,” McCall said. She specifically mentioned parking in the city garage on 2nd Avenue or Main Street. If walking isn’t a deterrent, McCall recommends parking at The Factory at Franklin and walking to events.
McCall resides in her childhood home next door to Battle Ground Academy’s lower campus on Franklin Road, and said her biggest tip for festivalgoers is to take advantage of friends in the area; she has multiple cars parked in her yard during Pumpkinfest, Dickens of a Christmas, and Main Street Festival.
Downtown Franklin business owner Bob Roethemeyer:
Roethemeyer, the owner of Main Street shop Avec Moi, said his parking tips work for peak times of the day, like Tuesdays and Thursdays when spaces fill up because of court sessions.
“Two of the most beautiful streets are West Main and Fair Street,” he said, recommending the free parking along these roads.
For the first four years Roethemeyer was in business, he said he would park on Fair Street and walk to work.
“It’s a simple two or three block walk by a variety of architectures and landscaping, and it’s just one of the treasures that we’re known for downtown,” he said.
Maxey said he parks at the city-owned 2nd Avenue garage each day while going to work downtown.
“It adds up the step count on the Fitbit,” he said.
For festivals, Maxey pointed to the TMA Group-run shuttles, which are typically low-cost and run from the Factory or another central location in downtown.
Bev Burger, City of Franklin Ward 1 Alderman:
Burger was initially reticent to share her secret tips with the Home Page. “Then I’ll lose my parking space!” she joked.
She admits that she utilizes friends’ lots to park when attending crowded events downtown. She also pointed to the city’s transit system, which typically has trolleys and shuttles during big events.
Teryl O’Connor, Heritage Foundation Director of Festivals and Events:
O’Connor suggested taking the trolley for this year’s Main Street Festival, which will run from Harlinsdale Farm to 2nd Avenue, and from Church of the City to 3rd Avenue and Church Street, near City Hall, on Saturday.
On Sunday, the trolley will run only from Harlinsdale to 2nd Avenue, with a $1.00 fee per person each way
Little-known parking lots also include the one behind the Heritage Foundation headquarters at the Old, Old Jail on Bridge Street and the one off South Margin Street by the railroad tracks and in front of the bridge to Pinkerton Park, as well as a variety of pay-to-park lots.
Other suggestions include arriving early for best parking picks, taking a rideshare to the event, or avoiding downtown during events.