Franklin Tomorrow and a delegation of more than 30 business, community and elected leaders returned Friday, April 11, 2014, from a three-day Vision City Visit to Carmel, Ind.
A preliminary visit was made in Fall 2013 by a six-person team to Carmel, which is often compared to Franklin in terms of job and population growth, as well as demographics.
Carmel, Ind., located near Indianapolis. has a population of 81,534 people with the lowest overall tax rate in the state of Indiana for a city its size while maintaining a AA+ bond rating by Standard & Poor’s. Carmel has the sixth highest per capita income in the U.S., and in 2012, was was named the No. 1 “Best Place to Live” for its size by CNN Money Magazine.
Under the leadership of Mayor James Brainard, the city created a plan for public-private partnership which has spawned redevelopment of their downtown with a proposed boutique hotel, job creation, attraction of national headquarters like Geico, unique housing options for a diverse population, and development of a strong trail network and park system.
Carmel is recognized nationally for its use of roundabouts to replace traditional signalized intersections, as well as its construction of multi-use trails for walking and bicycling throughout the city.
Among those making the trip were Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey, Alderman Brandy Blanton, Vice Mayor Pearl Bransford, and Alderman Beverly Burger, along with business leaders such as Andy Marshall of Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant, Adam Ballash of Boyle Investment, and Jay Franks of Harpeth Associates. Williamson County Commissioner Brian Beathard and Williamson County Community Development Director Joe Horne represented Williamson County.
Each participant paid their own way for the three-day trip, which also included stops in Columbus, Ind., the sixth most architecturally significant city in the U.S., and Madison, Ind., which served as a pilot program for the Main Street preservation program more than 30 years ago and today has the largest contiguous National Register of Historic Places district in the United States.
“As Franklin’s community visioning nonprofit, Franklin Tomorrow has long looked to other organizations and cities for examples of innovation, excellence, and leadership,” said Kathie Moore, Franklin Tomorrow’s Board President. “While we aren’t entirely like Carmel, we’re not Madison or Columbus either, because we are Franklin — a very unique wonderful place treasured by us all.”
Before leaving Carmel, the group caucused and developed a list of priorities it would continue to study as part of Franklin Tomorrow’s mission to engage the community, foster collaboration, and advocate for a shared vision for the future of Franklin.
Additional support for the trip was provided by Boyle Investment, Century Construction, and supporters of Franklin Tomorrow.
For more information, contact Franklin Tomorrow Executive Director Mindy Tate at 794-0998.