Study to Be Released on Possible Aquatic Center in Franklin

The Franklin City Commission and the public will soon hear results of a study to determine whether a proposed aquatic center in Franklin is feasible.

Young & Associates, a consulting firm the city commission hired to do a feasibility study on the proposed center, will reveal the results of that study at noon Thursday at Franklin-Simpson High School.

The proposed center has been the source of controversy in Simpson County, because part of the proposal calls for funding the center with a 3 percent tax on every purchase at Franklin restaurants, which would mean, for instance, a 24-cent fee on an $8 meal.

Because of the potential impact on Franklin’s restaurant industry, many restaurant owners have spoken out against the tax.

Robert Stupar, owner of Brickyard Cafe in Franklin, previously told the Daily News he was concerned that travelers on Interstate 65 could decide not to stop in Franklin as a place for lunch or dinner if they know about the tax.

“I still stand on everything I said before. I’m still against it,” he said.

In a letter to the Daily News, Stacy Roof, president and chief executive officer of the Kentucky Restaurant Association, said her group opposes the proposed tax that, according to her letter, “penalizes” people who eat out or pick up takeout.

Franklin City Manager Kenton Powell said that since a public pool in Franklin shut down in 2009, requests for an aquatic center have been common.

The feasibility study includes an analysis of the costs of running an aquatic center as well as the results of a survey Young & Associates sent to 7,000 people in the area about what sort of features they would want the aquatic center to have, how often they think they would use it and whether they approved of the proposed restaurant tax, Powell said.

Powell said 26 percent of the people who received a survey responded. A 10 percent response would have been enough to get a “good snapshot” of what the community wants, he said.

He said he plans for the survey results to be published on the city’s website Thursday afternoon.

“This is a commission decision, and we are going to have an idea of what the public wants,” he said.

Wendell Stewart, a member of the city commission, said there’s been plenty of talk in the community about the issue.

The commissioners haven’t been told the results of the study and won’t find out until the public forum, Stewart said.

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