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Save-A-Lot Property Update

Posted on: May 10, 2024 1:50 pm

Immediate release

May 10, 2024

City of Franklin Planning Commission denies district’s Save-a-Lot space conversion plans


The City of Franklin recommended that the Franklin City Planning Commission deny the Franklin City School District’s proposed conversion of the former Save-A-Lot space into a parking lot and green space. The commission voted 4-2 against the proposal at their May 8, 2024, meeting. The district purchased this property to be part of the new high school campus.

“We are disappointed by the planning commission’s decision to deny our proposed plans,” said Dr. Mike Sander, Superintendent of Franklin City Schools. “The safety and well-being of our students are our utmost priorities, and this decision represents a setback in our efforts to create a safer environment for our students. The denial of the proposal is a missed opportunity to enhance the overall educational experience of our students and improve the infrastructure of the district.”

With the construction of new facilities, the district lost two flexible outdoor spaces that were used by both students and community members: one behind the old 4th St. facility where the modular campus and bus garage are now, and one where the new high school is situated. 

The Board of Education (BOE) collaborated with district architect SHP in developing a plan for the Save-A-Lot property. The plan, designed with student safety as top priority, made best use of the property and included a multipurpose green space and parking. The proposed design would keep students away from the busy traffic on East 6th St. The space along 7th St. was to be utilized for physical education classes plus band, soccer, lacrosse, and other sports. Parking along the East 6th St. side would provide approximately 100 spaces for staff and visitors. 

The district is in support of Franklin’s downtown redevelopment plans, and the proposed landscaping plan for the lot included perimeter-buffering landscaping along East 6th St. and Anderson St. using evergreen shrubs and a four-foot-high, decorative metal fence with masonry piers matching the color and style of the high school. The interior of the parking lot was proposed to contain landscaped islands with low deciduous shrubs and large deciduous trees. 

In the denial, the city’s staff report said, “The proposed revision to construct a parking lot that abuts East 6th Street and Anderson Street does not conform with the recommendations of the Downtown Franklin Master Plan which includes discouraging street front parking as a high priority action item for the Mixed Use Planning Area. The action item specifically states, ‘As new development, redevelopment, and infill development occurs within the district, promote active street fronts with parking areas to the side and rear of the building.’ Additionally, the Mixed Use Planning Area is envisioned to be a dynamic, walkable district that includes a variety of uses which provide an attractive and engaging gateway into Downtown Franklin. The parking lot at the proposed location does not support this vision.”

While the decision is disheartening, the BOE remains committed to exploring alternatives and making informed decisions that maximize student safety above all else. The district will continue to engage with city officials to seek solutions that provide a safe and enriching learning environment. A second Planning Commission 4-2 vote tabled the issue for now in case the BOE wants to discuss changes that would satisfy the city. The lot will remain undeveloped while solutions are considered. 

A picture of the proposal for the lot is below. 

Those with questions should call the superintendent’s office at (937) 746-1699.



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