At the start of a new decade, Frankfort is poised to make transformational changes. People can sense the possibilities, and suggestions from the public are flooding city government.
With over 15 years of experience working on community issues, Envision Franklin County would like to suggest the following priorities in order to lay a strong foundation for the future. The first five goals below come directly from the Comprehensive Plan.
Rewrite the Comprehensive Plan and the zoning code simultaneously
Hire a qualified consultant to rewrite both documents so they work together. Project population growth and plan appropriate areas for housing and commercial growth. Focus on infill sites.
The zoning code is outdated and in dire need of modernization. The current code does not result in high-quality development. Using “form-based” code will lead to predictable and desirable development. Develop a public involvement plan to gather input and provide feedback to the Comprehensive Plan. Estimated cost: $300,000 (split with the county)
Fund Small Area Plans (annually beginning 2021)
Areas along East Main Street, Century Plaza, Old Sears center and Schenkel Lane are prime candidates for redevelopment. This work can be accomplished by hiring a consultant or a full time planner who focuses on long term planning. Estimated cost: $50,000 to $75,000 each.
Redesign Holmes Street
Continue the city's diligent efforts to move forward with a detailed design for the road and sidewalks in this neglected area of town. This is a critical, multiyear step needed prior to construction. City budget should be set aside for design. Outside funding should be sought for utility relocation and construction. Consider a partnership with state transportation. Cost: $800,000
Continue the historic property grant for commercial and residential properties
This program has enabled many property owners to make significant improvements to the exterior of their structures, furthering the overall improvement of historic neighborhoods. This will help grow the city’s property tax base.
Promote infill development
Develop a comprehensive package of incentives to encourage infill development and reuse of existing buildings.
Develop a multiyear project spending plan
There are many needs and desires of citizens for improvements around the city. Creating a five-year spending plan would allow citizens to have input and enable elected officials to plan finances accordingly.
Train the planning and zoning commissioners
Develop a training curriculum for current and new P&Z commissioners so that they understand the role of that body. Training should include education about relevant processes and codes, as well as clarification of the role of the commission in shaping plans and policies.
With bold leadership and clear-eyed plans, Frankfort can remake itself into a more robust, more beautiful, and more efficient city. Let's start the decade out right.
Chris Schimmoeller is president of Envision Franklin County. She can be emailed at email@example.com.