The long-awaited streetscape project has concluded, and Mainstreet Franklin is welcoming people downtown to celebrate.

The long-awaited streetscape project has concluded, and Mainstreet Franklin is welcoming people downtown to celebrate.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

Franklin celebrates walkable downtown during Summer Block Party

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 24, 2022


For several years, downtown Franklin has been awaiting a renovation to its streetscape. Construction has finally concluded, and the village is preparing a celebration to enjoy the new safe and clean downtown Aug. 24. 

Efforts to study and consider improvements in the downtown area started in 2018, since no recent investments had been made to freshen up the area.

Construction began in June 2020. The total cost of the project came to approximately $2,730,000. 

Due to delays related to early cold weather, construction lasted two years on Franklin Road from 13 Mile to 14 Mile. Certain things, such as concrete work, had to be delayed until the spring. 

There are now new sidewalks on the east side of Franklin Road, from 13 Mile 14 Mile to allow people who live on the south end of the village to walk downtown without having to cut through neighborhoods. 

Efforts to improve the aesthetic were made downtown, including adding flower plantings. 

Other improvements include storm drains, crosswalks, sidewalk bollards and streetlights to illuminate the downtown area.

A large amount of stone retaining wall was also created at the north and south ends of Franklin Road between 13 Mile and 14 Mile.

“Kudos to our residents and businesses for their endurance and patience through this two-year construction project that impacted Franklin Road and disrupted business access,” Roger Frager, village administrator, said. 

During the pandemic, several storefronts went vacant in Franklin. There are now no empty storefronts as almost all of the storefronts in downtown Franklin have been leased. Some of the businesses are still working on the building, but the storefront is still leased. 

Lisa Dunn, Main Street Franklin board chair and the owner of Déjà vu Upscale Resale, said, “As a resident and a business owner, I am so grateful that the streetscape is completed and it looks beautiful and I have always been in support of it.” 

On Wednesday, Aug. 24, Franklin will celebrate their new streetscape by gathering the community together for the Summer Block Party. This is the second year for this event.

“It brings out families and it is a great community effort,” Dunn said. “We had such a great turnout last year that we figured we had to do it again because people loved it.”

Main Street Franklin is hosting this event, which will include live entertainment, special offers from local merchants, food and kids' activities. 

The Sean Blackman Trio will be performing at the Summer Block Party, as well as student musicians from the Axis Music Academy.

Food trucks will be available for people to purchase from, but there will also be free ice cream given away by Cool Jacks. For adults, there will be ticket sales for craft cocktails by Tangerine Wine. 

“It is really important to all of us as merchants to have this number of people come out to have fun at an event that everyone is enjoying,” Dunn said.

Sidewalk sales will begin at 11:30 a.m., and the event will run 5:30-9 p.m. The streets will be closed to ensure this is a safe and walkable event.

All proceeds of this event will go towards the Main Street Franklin Fund. 

“The Summer Block Party is an appropriate celebration of our renewed downtown,” Fraser said.