Franklin Neighborhood Sidewalk Pilot Program

 

Background

In 2018, the City of Franklin completed a Franklin Pedestrian and Bicycle Connection Master Plan in order to determine what the alternative transportation needs were in the local neighborhoods and how to connect our different residential areas with important destination points within the City.  The studied needs were not automotive-centric, but rather, focused on bicycles, wheelchairs, and pedestrian foot traffic.  While bicycle routes were a major part of the study, so too, were sidewalks and the key role they play in Franklin’s vision of a vibrant city with great neighborhoods and convenient connectivity to the Downtown District and many other venues that are essential to the residents and their needs.  

 

Purpose of Program

In an effort to combat these problems and to make the Franklin community more walkable and liveable, and to encourage more neighborhood activity, the City has proposed the Franklin Neighborhood Sidewalk Improvement Program.  This first phase of the program is considered a pilot program focused on one to three priority areas that were strategically selected because of 1) type of residents that reside in them (e.g.. elderly, lower income); 2) the important destinations within close proximity (e.g. grocery store, bus stop, public library, commercial area); and 3) the poor sidewalk conditions (e.g. broken, uneven, presenting barriers to the handicapped).

 

Phase I Target Area

The first area is also the highest priority.  It is described as follows:

  • 12th Street, beginning at Eagle Street and ending at Buffalo Street.
  • Chestnut Street, beginning at 13th Street and ending at 10th Street.
  • Buffalo Street, beginning at 13th Street and ending at 10th Street.
  • 11th Street, beginning at Chestnut Street and ending at Liberty Street.

 

Phase II Target Area

  • Elk Street, beginning at 13th Street and ending at Allegheny Boulevard 
  • 11th Street, beginning at Liberty Street and ending at Otter Street
  • South Park Street, beginning at Elk Street and ending at Otter Street
  • 12th Street, beginning at Elk Street and ending at Otter Street
  • West Park Street, beginning at Elk Street and ending at Otter Street

Phases I and II were completed in 2023. Additional phases to commence in the Spring of 2024 when the weather permits. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

How Can I Get My Sidewalk Repaired?

The City of Franklin currently has a Neighborhood Sidewalk Program to help property owners with homes located in the target area described above. In order to participate in the program, a property owner may contact the City’s Community Development Department at (814) 437-1922 (Option 5) to obtain an application form. The application form is also available at the bottom of this webpage. Phase II Applications must be submitted by August 7, 2023 to: City of Franklin, Community Development Dept. 430-13th St. Franklin, PA 16323.

 

How Much Assistance is Available to Repair My Sidewalk?

The City of Franklin offers eligible owners of residential properties 50% of the total costs to repair or replace qualified sidewalks; the property owner will be required to pay the other 50% of costs. Owners of non-residential properties may be considered for assistance if they are key to the contiguous pathway to an important destination. Non-residential property owners are only eligible for 30% of the total costs and are required to pay the other 70%.

 

What Portions of My Sidewalk are Ineligible for Assistance?

Any tie-ins to sidewalks that lead either to the street or to the structure or tie-ins to driveways are the sole responsibility of the property owner. This program only offers assistance with public sidewalk areas.

 

How are Sidewalk Repair/Replacement Sites Selected?

Any sidewalks being repaired or replaced must be located in the Phase 1 target area described above. This program is primarily designed to assist residential property owners with the improvements necessary to make public sidewalks safe and usable. If the amount of interest exceeds the funds available, the City will prioritize the projects by the deterioration of the sidewalk, the anticipated benefit to the neighborhood, and the proposed project’s continuity with other sidewalk improvements.

 

Who Does the Work and How are They Selected?

The City will maintain a list of insured and capable contractors through a public Request for Proposals Process. The lowest responsible bidder will be selected, unless they are not available for a project, due to timing constraints, in which case the second lowest bidder will be selected and so on.  The City will prepare a contract between the contractor and the property owner. The agreement will include the scope of work, time for completion, total cost and unit costs, and arbitration procedures in the event of a disagreement between the parties. The property owner will be responsible for helping to protect the concrete while it cures, as well as agreeing that no extraneous markings will occur to the concrete (i.e. handprints, footprints, initials, dates). All completed sidewalks remain the responsibility of the property owner for care and maintenance.

 

When are Funds Paid to the City and the Contractor?

Property owner(s) are expected to pay their 50% share of the total costs to the City upon signing the contract; the City shall act as Escrowee of funds. Upon the project’s completion the City’s Code Enforcement Officer and/or Street Department Supervisor will make final inspections, along with the homeowner, to ensure that the work has been completed satisfactorily. Once inspections are complete and forms are signed noting that the work was performed satisfactorily, the City will issue a check made payable to the Contractor.

 

Can a Tree be Removed That is Damaging My Sidewalk?

The City seeks to retain street trees whenever possible; however, tree removal required to enable proper sidewalk replacement may be considered an eligible expense. Any necessary removal of a street tree will need prior approval from the Franklin Shade Tree Commission. Tree replacement will not be an eligible expense.  Under no circumstances will the City provide funding to remove or trim trees on private property. 

 

When will the Project Start?

For economies of scale, it is anticipated that the project will begin when a number of properties are under contract so they can be done in one or two mobilizations.

 

Am I Eligible for the Program if I am a Renter?

Rental properties are eligible for the program; however the property owner(s) must submit the application. If selected, the contract will be between the property owner and the Contractor, with the City of Franklin acting as Escrowee of funds.

 

Who Should I Contact if I have Additional Questions?

For questions about the Franklin Neighborhood Sidewalk Program or application, please contact the Community Development Department at (814) 437-1922, Option 5.

Franklin Neighborhood Sidewalk Program Application - Phase II Due August 7, 2023 to: City of Franklin, Community Development Dept. 430-13th St. Franklin, PA 16323