By Kristin Fox
As what was described as “an amazingly short but monumental agenda with a lot of good work” by Town Council Member David Culpepper, the October meeting of the Franklin Town Council was short, lasting a little over 30 minutes, but was quite productive with the town taking action on several agenda items.
The meeting opened with the recognition of the superior work of the town’s water treatment plant. For the fourth year in a row, the town has been recognized for its safe drinking water. In recognition of their hard work to keep the town’s drinking water safe, Bill Deal, Public Works Director, presented the North Carolina Area Wide Optimization Program Award to Bobby Clubb, Superintendent of the Water Treatment Plant, and his staff.
The award is given each year to water systems that demonstrate outstanding turbidity removal in water treatment. Turbidity is the key test of drinking water quality and is a measurement of cloudiness and haziness in the water caused by individual particles. Inside this turbidity can contain micros that can cause harmful bacteria and have harmful bacteria and viruses in them.
“Our water plant has been able to reduce the turbidity in its water to create a safe drinking water for the Town of Franklin,” said Deal. “All state and federal guidelines have been met, above and beyond those requirements. Bobby and his crew do an excellent job keeping the water we all use daily of a good quality, every day, always, weekends and holidays it doesn’t matter.”
In other business, Franklin Town Mayor Jack Horton signed a proclamation declaring the month of October to be Colonial Heritage Month. Shelah Portoukalian Historian of the Lost Colony Chapter, Colonial Dames XVII Century of Franklin, received the signed proclamation.
The National Society of Colonial Dames XVII Century is an organization of women, 18 years of age or older, who are lineal descendants of an ancestor who lived and served prior to 1701 in one of the original colonies. Members are devoted to preserving the memories of those that settled and lived in the United States prior to 1701.
The proclamation recalls the first courageous settlers who arrived in America and who influenced much of the direction of our country. These descendants of the Lost Colony continue to convey the true meaning of the inheritance by reminding us that our privilege to live in a free county has stemmed from “loving our county, obeying its laws, respecting its flag and defending it against all enemies.”
Taking action with the approval of its consent agenda, the town voted to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Macon County Board Commissioners for the extension of the Little Tennessee Greenway. While the county is the owner and maintains the Greenway, it is located within and extends through the corporate limits of the town. The memorandum will allow the town and county to work together to improve accessibility to the Greenway.
In the memorandum, the town agrees to acquire property located on the waters of Cartoogechaye Creek from Mainspring Conservation Trust, Inc. for the extension. The town also agrees to pursue funding for the extension of the Greenway across the property. In exchange, the county commits to maintaining and managing the extension of the Greenway. Following completion of the project, the county agrees to be responsible for maintenance, upkeep and security of the extended Greenway.
The town and county will pursue funding sources for the project from but not limited to grant funding from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF).
Also, as an item in the consent agenda, the town voted to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the development of a recreation plan for the Whitmire Property from qualified firms. The town is seeking qualified consultants with proven experience in developing comprehensive parks and recreation plans in towns like Franklin. The town developed a town-wide comprehensive plan that included recreation planning which was adopted June 1, 2020.
In December 2004, the town purchased the large tract of land known as the Whitmire Property. After many years of debate, the town recently decided that having an area for outdoor recreational opportunities in town would be of benefit and authorized that a portion of the Whitmire Property be used for such. The enhancements to the Whitmire Property will be in conjunction with the Comprehensive Plan and BikeWalk Franklin plan adopted by the town in 2017.
Under new business, the town approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Givens Estates, Inc. for consulting services. Dogwood Health Trust has awarded a grant to the town in the amount of $267,000 for the purpose of procuring services to determine the feasibility of converting the Angel Medical Center property to affordable rental housing set aside specifically for seniors, aged 55 or greater.
The town manager and staff will collaborate with Givens employees and agents to carry out the purposes of the grant and the memorandum.