With all of the recent activity in East Franklinton, including a neighborhood plan that calls for increased density and a wide range of uses for the area between the railroad tracks and 315, it can sometimes seem like West Franklinton – despite being the much-larger part of the neighborhood that stretches west to the Hilltop – is being over-looked.
The mayor may have had that perception in mind when he announced a partnership with Mount Carmel focused on West Franklinton in his state of the city address. This planning effort, though, is just getting underway and the exact nature of Mt Carmel’s involvement has not yet been determined.
Jim Sweeney, Executive Director of the Franklinton Development Association (FDA), says that while they are “very excited about bringing a lot of new voices to the table” for the planning effort, they’ve been focused on the western part of the neighborhood for years, and are optimistic that a slow and steady approach to revitalization will yield long-lasting, positive results.
Assistant Director Jeff Mohrman points to the nearly 170 new or completely-renovated houses that have been added to the neighborhood since 2002 by the FDA or their partners. Although that pales in comparison to the number of problem properties that remain, Mohrman hopes that by strategically focusing their efforts on certain streets when possible and leveraging a wide range of local, state and federal programs, the organization can slowly turn the tide in the neighborhood.
In conjunction with the city’s Vacant and Abandoned Properties Initiative, for example, hardwood and other materials have been salvaged from demolished properties and reused by local businesses and organizations. One of these groups, Franklinton Gardens, will be using about four tons of salvaged limestone to construct raised beds for growing vegetables.
Sweeney and Mohrman are also excited about a potential new program aimed at keeping long-time residents in the neighborhood. FDA has applied for funding from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to set up the program, which would provide new, ADA-compliant homes in the neighborhood for residents who don’t have the resources to renovate their houses and may not qualify for some of the other programs available. The old houses would be rehabbed and sold to new residents.
More information about these and other programs can be found at www.franklinton.org.
Photo by Walker Evans.