Franklin officials spent four hours Saturday hearing progress reports on several ongoing projects and was updated on several key topics during its annual planning meeting.
The agenda was so packed, one council member said they may need to have another meeting to discuss items that individual council members wanted to discuss. Council also scheduled departmental updates for the police, fire/EMS, and public works departments at their meetings over the next several weeks.
“It takes time to do things but we’ll keep plugging at it,” said Mayor Todd Hall. “This is a good process for us.”
Here are some of the highlights from the meeting:
School Resource Officer
Councilman Michael Aldridge asked about reinstating school resource officers in light of the recent school shooting tragedies that have happened elsewhere and more recently in Florida. Police Chief Russell Whitman said the city has been in discussions since September with the Warren County Educational Resource Center about a school resource officer at its two learning centers in the city. He said that discussion was expanded to include the Franklin City Schools for an officer at the high school in November.
Whitman said the plan was to have one officer that would split their time for both school entities during the nine-month school year and would cover 75 percent of the costs of the officer’s salary, benefits and a cruiser. The officer would work for the city the other three months of the year with the city covering the remaining 25 percent of the costs.
He said the WCESC board have approved the proposal. The Franklin school board has the proposal on its agenda and will be discussing the proposal at its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.
Whitman said Franklin used to have a school resource officer program but had to end the program due to budget cuts in 2007 about the time of the recession.
Amy Johnson and Rodney Roberts of the Forever Franklin board told council they are continuing their organizational efforts that started last spring. The organization is planning several projects as part of the accreditation process to become a Main Street community to assist downtown revitalization.
The organization is looking at obtaining some trash cans and benches and promoting some events this year including a periodic guided tour of the city’s murals that would end at a downtown restaurant.
Johnson and Roberts said the organization is wrapping up their efforts to obtain their 501 (c) 3 nonprofit tax status so donations would be tax deductible.
They reported they are receiving the support of downtown businesses in their efforts.
Park, pool renovations
The city is working with the Warren County Regional Planning Commission on plans for the expansion of Community Park on the south side of Ohio 123. In addition, the city received a $105,000 state NatureWorks grant for concrete and plumbing work at the Paul Elmer Fitzgerald Pool that is jointly owned with Franklin Twp. That work will be done this year, according to city officials. In addition, a proposed plan for a splash pad is getting a second look due to the high maintenance costs to operate it.
Council is considering a new entrance sign at the Ohio 73 gateway and is considering adding a digital messaging capability. There was also discussion about putting “Welcome to Franklin” on the fencing on the East Fourth Street bridge over I-75 which is between both of the exits to Franklin. Council also agreed that a Luke Kennard Mr. Ohio Basketball sign be re-erected at one of the city’s gateways. Some of the signs were stolen last year as Kennard, a Franklin High School alumnus, entered the NBA draft and forced the city to take the others down.
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