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Arts & Entertainment Aldermen vote to move Pickin' back to square

This summer’s Pickin’ on the Square event has called the lower parking lot of the Franklin Town Hall home. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the live music, vendors and outdoor setting.Considering parallel parking on Main

Over the last few months, officials have been considering the future of the gazebo located on Town Square. Initially, Pickin’ on the Square was moved to the Town Hall parking lot so renovations could be done to the gazebo. No concrete plans have been put in place, though some ideas have drifted in from the public. Now that funding is available, town officials want to take their time in deciding what course of action they should take with the structure.

“You know funds have come available now that we've started our new fiscal year and now we need to look at the direction we want to move forward with,” said Town Manager Warren Cabe at Monday night’s board of aldermen meeting. “The board needs to agree on that in the near future, but when we decide on a course of action, I think it's important that we open the process up to the public to gain their input as well.”

Another hurdle that must be taken care of is the extension of a lease for the property which is owned by Macon County. Cabe says he will get that process moving along so that any types of possible renovations can begin once the board decides on a course of action. Regardless, it looks as though it will be some time before any finished product will come to fruition.

“When there's multiple governments involved, things take time. This gives us time to get the public involved. If I wanted to, I could have it done next month, but it would be my idea and we really need to have public input,” Cabe said.

This summer's Pickin' on the Square celebration that occurs every Saturday night has been moved to the lower parking lot of the town hall. For years, Pickin’ was a staple at the gazebo and on town square and according to Mayor Joe Collins it is missed at that location.

“I've had a lot of traffic come my way about Pickin',” he said. “It seems as though the move to the lower parking lot has hurt the turnout. People seem to really want it back on the square.”

The question arose of whether people had gotten use to the event occurring in the Town Hall parking lot and if it were to moved would it hurt anything.

Last Saturday night, Curtis Blackwell and the Dixie Bluegrass Boys entertained the crowds gathered in the town hall parking lot for the weekly Pickin’ on the Square. The Franklin Board of Aldermen have voted to move Pickin’ back to the town square. Photos by Betsey Gooder“I would feel comfortable moving it back to the gazebo if nothing is going to happen on the construction or renovations for a while,” said Alderman Billy Mashburn. “There are people from other states who do come here for it and the attendance numbers seem to be down.”

Alderman Joyce Handley made a motion to move the event back to the gazebo with Alderman Verlin Curtis seconding the motion. It passed unanimously.

The board also discussed parking on Main Street. The spaces are situated so that vehicles park diagonally. Often when a vehicle is too large, it may stick out into the street or park a tire or two onto the sidewalk in order to be out of roadway.

“I'm just sort of tired of seeing vehicles – some of which are our [the town’s] vehicles, parked with their tires on the sidewalks,” said Collins.

According to figures presented by Franklin Town Planner Derek Roland, there are 76 to 77 diagonal parking spaces and in the event that town officials decided to change the layout to having parallel parking spaces instead, there would be 69.

“I wouldn't mind losing a few spots if it would make it safer,” Collins said in response to the figures.

Many on the board questioned how many of the parallel spaces would be filled if there was an empty space with a vehicle parked in front and behind it.

“Do they even teach parallel parking anymore?,” Alderman Farrell Jamison asked. “I just don't know how many people will want to use the spaces and don't forget that it takes a little while for some people to maneuver themselves into them.”

Cabe noted that the Town of Sylva was also having this problem. The board decided to discuss the matter again at a later date.


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