Franklin Street Redesign Agreement Gets OK From City Council to Advance


Markos Miller, in the Hallway at City Hall This Evening, Following the Council’s Approval of an Agreement Between the City and MaineDOT.

“The community is still behind this Franklin Street Redesign,” said Markos Miller, early this evening, and just moments after the city council’s unanimous approval of the study grant agreement between the city of Portland and the Maine Department of Transportation, (MaineDOT) occurred.

The approval of the agreement means that the MaineDOT funding of $125,000. will be matched by the city of Portland for the study grant – thereby doubling the funds for the grant.  These funds will be used to update the Plan, analyze the housing potential and have a final Plan that can be used in a Federal grant application for reconstruction.

The redesign idea was the brainchild of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organzation and the Bayside Neighborhood Association between 2008 abd 2015. The redesign idea was  to reconnect neighborhoods, make the street safer and create opportunities for new housing..  Times have changed on the Hill, but the mission remans largely in tact.  That is to redevelop a plot of land erased by urban renewal back in the 60;s,.

Between 2008 and 2015, the Plan sat on a shelf at city hall because the city said the “timing” was not right for this Plan to be developed and executed.  The redevelopment of the property would provide much needed land for desparately needed housing in Portland lost to urban renewal.  The Plan was adopted by by the City Council in 2015.

Four people testified in support of the plan at this evening’s city council meeting.  Three of them were Bill Webber, of Portland Climate Action; Amy Oberlin and Wendy Cherubini.

Cherubini told the city council in part:  “Rebuilding Franklin will require an interdisciplinary approach, land use expertise will all be necessary to making Franklin a sucess……….The RFP for a consultant is a critical first step…I urge you to require regular, formal updates…This is in addtion to the robust public involvement called for in the RFP, will ensure  quality redesign results from the process….the proposed study and update of the Franklin Plan will include an analysis of housing and economic development opportunities, updated transportation data, and revisit design choices considering current best practies in urban design.  All of this will position Franklin to compete for federal funds…… Like so many cities across the US, we have an urban renewal scar that splits our peninsula in two  We can knit the city together by rebuilding Franklin into a car, pedestrian and bicycle oriened urban roadway with new housing and expanded park space.”

Munjoy HIll resident Markos Miller has led the drive to see that this Plan sees the light of day at city hall.  But he arrived at city hall this evening just moments after the city council’s approval vote.  Miller was prepared to testify on the Plan but was moments too late to do that.  “The current housing crisis, a new understanding of urban development practices and new federal grants all  now available all shone new light on the 2015 plan.  “I’m glad it’s finally happening.  It’s a great space to add to our housing stock,” said Miller.

Miller taught Spanish for ten years at Deering High School.  He currently teaches at Sklllin Elmentary School, South Portland.