Town council makes short work of agenda

James Hampton and Brandy Burns aided Chief Bill Harrell in subduing an impaired individual until other police officers arrived in a June 11 altercation. Photo by Betsey Gooder

Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer

In less than an hour, the Town of Franklin Council addressed at least a dozen items on its August 2 agenda. 

The public session primarily involved proponents and one opponent of the ongoing skateboard park discussion. An announcement was made of a new Facebook page, Sk828 Franklin, established for the purpose of helping “organize the efforts of Franklin citizens to have a skate park developed in Franklin,” cites the page, which further informs: “Evan Lampkin, a 14-year-old Franklin resident and skater has begun this process and presented the idea to the Franklin Town Council at the May 2021 council meeting.”

Evan’s mother, Olga Lampkin, showed up to express “continued support and appreciation” for the move forward to eventually establishing a skateboard park in Franklin. Sk828 hats and t-shirts were made by Alex Screen Printing & Graphics Inc. for the purpose of selling them to raise money for the effort. So far, a reported $3,000 has been donated and/or raised for the skatepark. 

A concerned citizen, Sara Johnson, expressed to the council the possible environmental impact to soil, fish and water, due to the proximity of the proposed site for the skateboard park, which is by the Crawford Branch stream at Memorial Park in Franklin. 

Citizens commended

Chief of Police Bill Harrell presented two certificates of valor to local citizens. 

 “The Franklin Police Department believes in the recognition of good Samaritans for their actions and outstanding efforts in service to their community, and especially in this case toward assisting law enforcement during an emergency while exercising our duties. In keeping with this belief, I would like to recognize two citizens who both just happen to have a history of being the protectors of others,” Chief Harrell addressed those assembled.

With James Hampton and Brandy Burns present, Chief Harrell continued: 

“On June 11, 2021 at approximately 5 p.m., James Hampton and Brandy Burns saw a difficult situation I was in while engaged in subduing an assailant. This individual, who, on this day was partially clothed in the middle of the highway, and under the influence of narcotics, had seconds previously been trying to confront an elderly lady turning into the Macon Plaza shopping center when I intercepted him. After getting his attention and exiting my vehicle to see if I could determine the man’s intentions, and in his heavily impaired and irate state, he lunged at me knocking me off balance and then jumped in the driver’s side of my vehicle and was attempting to drive away. Once gathering my balance, I went into the vehicle on top of the suspect, and engaged the emergency brake as he was trying to shift it into drive. Mr. Hampton and Ms. Burns both exhibited exceptional courage and presence of mind, in the attempt to save and protect human life, while assisting me in subduing the suspect as other police officers and deputies arrived. Their failure to act or action after delay could have led to a tragic outcome.” 

The certificates of valor read: “Recognition of actions of an extraordinary nature, or actions that display outstanding execution of duties by an individual which demonstrate unusual judgment, zeal, ingenuity, bravery and/or personal risk.” 

“They definitely showed courage in that moment,”  commented Chief Harrell

Approved was a proclamation for Homeless Veterans Week to be Sept. 5, 2021. Promoted due to fundraising efforts by the Men’s Group of the First Presbyterian Church, the week will be set aside to focus on supporting homeless veterans, with monies raised assisting with ongoing homeless programs. 

New business

In other new business, Justin Setser, Interim Town Manager/Town Planner, presented three new items, including the resolution for accepting American Rescue Plan Act funds, also known as Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, the goal has been for the American Rescue Plan to deliver $350 billion nationwide for eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments as monies to assist in responding to the COVID-19 emergency and bringing back jobs. The council approved acceptance, and Setser noted, “The guidance we have received from the state is that the funds should primarily be used for water and sewer projects and broadband projects.”

Another approved measure was the creation of a capital project ordinance for “phase II” of the water treatment plant. Setser explained. 

“The second phase of the water treatment plant isn’t under construction yet. Right now we are just working on creating an engineering report and RFQ [request for quotation] for engineer services to start design. We don’t expect construction to start until sometime in 2023,” he said.

Duke Energy also approached the town about an agreement to install an electric vehicle (EV) charging station at Town Hall. 

“Currently, there are none in the city limits that are fast charging stations,” said Setser. “With the [Duke] station, a completely drained car could be fully charged in 45 minutes. And, having it here [Town Hall] would be an incentive for people to shop on Main Street while they are waiting for their car to charge.”  

A few others “slower” EV charging stations are at the Fun Factory and Ingles on Hwy. 441. Installing the stations are of no cost to the Town of Franklin, thus, the agreement was green lighted by the council.

Finally, Vice Mayor Jack Horton asked that a discussion about the Christmas Parade be added to new business. He said a concern involved adequate funding to pay police officers for security and traffic control during the annual event. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce was working to encourage volunteers to sign up to assist with the planning and implementation of the parade. A motion to allocate $1,200 for the parade was approved. 

Mayor Bob Scott ended the Aug. 2 meeting by announcing that the next Town Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 7, as the Town Hall offices will be closed on Mon., Sept. 6 in observation of Labor Day. The next “Free Family Movie Night” will be Friday, Aug. 6, in the lower Town Hall parking lot; the featured film is “The Princess Bride.” 

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