Franklin's downtown food truck park opens today

·4 min read

Aug. 5—Franklin city officials have a lot of plans underway to revitalize their downtown district and will be taking the next step to make it a destination location from 5 to 9 p.m. today.

The city will open its newly built food truck park at 20 E. Fourth St., where a vacant house once stood and a good number of people are already excited based on social media responses.

In addition to the food trucks on-site, there will be games, live music, kids' activities, vendor booths, and a community bonfire at Friday's grand opening. The city will feature the following food truck vendors for the grand opening: Acrey's Hog Wild BBQ; Mother Clucking Chicken Coop; Funnell Vision; Frio's Gourmet Pops; Kona Ice; Mexi-Q; and Dayton Bartending Co.

The city's goal is have the food truck park in operation on an everyday basis. So far 40 dates have been reserved by various food truck vendors.

City officials said the trucks have to be licensed and insured. In addition, the city will not schedule food trucks with comparable or similar cuisines during the same time to provide patrons with variety while providing the food "partners" with a positive business opportunity. A list of upcoming trucks can be found at www.FranklinOhio.org/FoodTrucks.

"The food trucks will be on site up to seven days at a time and will come and go," City Manager Jonathan Westendorf said. "The support has been overwhelming. Once people see this in operation, it's going to grow more."

Westendorf said the vacant house was purchased in 2018 for $18,000. He said the initial goal was to renovate the building into a retail storefront. However, the project was put on hold in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a walkthrough of the house in 2021, city officials determined due to the building's state of disrepair and multiple building additions that had been done, the best option was demolition, which cost about $15,000.

The project was discussed by Franklin City Council during its annual planning session last winter.

"Shortly after, city staff started exploring the idea of using the space to install a food truck pad. This idea fits perfectly with our working mission statement; 'The city of Franklin is boldly planning to ensure our great city captures the growth and economic development that will lead us into the future,' " he said.

"The idea is bold as there are no other food truck pads in our neighboring communities," Westendorf said. "It will foster economic growth by supporting our local food truck businesses, feeding the existing storefronts in our downtown, and opening the opportunity for food truck and other entrepreneurs to find a permanent store front in our downtown

He said the lot was leveled to take advantage of the water and electric utility services already there. He said the city has installed picnic tables, lighting and graveled the lot. The food truck park will also have a fire pit and some benches as well as other amenities being planned.

Westendorf said the lot can provide utility service for four food trucks and there is room for additional food trucks who are self-sufficient who can park on the street to serve customers. If people want something other than food truck fare, Westendorf said they can check out other eateries downtown such as Pisanello's Pizza or Subway.

Friday's big event

Westendorf said Dayton Bartending Co. is bringing Louise, their renovated 1960s horse trailer that is equipped with a mobile bar and a built-in cooler and draft system.

Drink tickets will be available for purchase at their booth on Fourth Street. Tickets can be redeemed at Louise, located within the Food Truck Park. They will be serving a variety of beer, hard seltzer and margaritas.

All drinks must be consumed within the Food Truck Park. Drinks will not be allowed outside of the food truck park onto nearby Fourth or Main streets.

"We have more than 2,000 people who said they were coming on Facebook to the grand opening," Westendorf said. "The mayor (Brent Centers) did a video that went out on Monday and received more than 4,000 views."