By Amanda Amsel
Franklin Township and Prairie Township will be joining forces in an effort to improve the landscaping around the West Broad Street and Interstate-270 interchange.
At a recent Prairie Township meeting, the board approved partnering with Franklin County, Hollywood Casino, Weston Vision, Haydocy Buick GMC and Franklin Township on the project.
“This region is the welcoming area for Prairie Township, Franklin Township and our business corridor, so we wanted it to look appealing to visitors as they get off this important exit,” said Tracy Hatmaker, Prairie Township administrator. “The first step in this process is to come up with a design concept and the second phase will be creating bid documents and a construction plan.”
During the design concept phase, project organizers will be asking the community for their input and will be hosting a series of public meetings.
According to Hatmaker, a grant is paying for a portion of this project and then the participating partners will be paying the remaining amount.
“Prairie Township will have the contract to work on this project, but the remaining costs will be split up,” Hatmaker said. “The first phase of the project will cost approximately $42,500 and second phase will cost between $21,000 and $22,000.”
The first phase will be covered by a $12,500 grant from Franklin County, $2,000 from Haydocy Buick GMC, $1,000 from Weston Vision, $2,000 from Franklin Township and both Prairie Township and Hollywood Casino will pay $12,500.
According to Hatmaker, the reason the first phase will cost so much more is because hosting public meetings, as well as creating a design plan that the community can support can be time consuming and costly.
Hatmaker noted that the costs for phase one and two do not cover the construction costs. The township will not know those costs until the preliminary budget is set during phase two.
“We can’t say when this project will start and even when we are going to go out to bid on this,” he said. “All of that will depend on what the preliminary budget shows.
The township has several projects currently going on so, according to Hatmaker, they need to ensure they can complete those projects first before they start on something new.
“It revolves around cost and what our partners can afford to contribute,” he said. “We won’t know what the next steps are until after phase two is complete and we have a preliminary budget.”
At a recent Franklin Township meeting, the trustees expressed excitement about participating in the project, stating that is an important corridor to their community and they want it to be appealing to residents and visitors.
“This is a great investment in our community and we are thrilled we can collaborate with Prairie Township and area businesses on this,” said John Fleshman, township trustee. “This is just another way we are trying to improve this community and make it more business friendly.”