Prevent "Franklin Woods" from becoming a retail shopping center
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Recently, it was made aware to the people of Gastonia and surrounding cities that there will soon be a new retail shopping center in the highly traveled area of East Franklin Boulevard. This area is noted as "Franklin Woods," however it may be the complete opposite before long. According to a recent Gaston Gazette article, a proposal for the development of the shopping center was approved by leaders of Gastonia on Tuesday, November 21st. The 14-acre zone will allow space for 75,000 square feet in total, however, there are spaces in the local area where the opportunity for a shopping center is available without deforestation. For example, there is a building directly across East Franklin Boulevard in which Kmart previously existed. This property is just over 108,000 square feet, according to Loopnet, and would allow for more space than is necessary for the project. There is a shopping center, known as Akers Center, that has multiple vacancies and is located just 2.3 miles down East Franklin Boulevard.
In addition to deforestation, the residents of Gaston County are displeased and feel that there are many reasons why a new shopping center should not be built in place of the woodland. Some of the locals believe that bringing life towards the west end of Franklin Boulevard would be beneficial to the community. Leveling out the traffic on each side of town would relieve stress for shoppers, as well as those who live close by. Many residents of the surrounding neighborhoods are infuriated by the idea of lowering their home values and taking away their only noise barrier from the existing commotion.
Personally, I feel that revamping other areas of Gastonia would benefit the community and create a smoother experience for shoppers, locals, and out-of-town visitors. When I think of visiting the area surrounding Franklin Woods, I cringe at the hustle and bustle that already exists. Instead of tearing down trees and robbing the homes of animals, we could have empty store fronts rejuvenated in order to bring life into the city of Gastonia. A time frame for construction and possible occupants have not been released to the public, which means that we still have time to make changes to our community. Together, it is possible to cease the demolition of Franklin Woods. Together, it is possible to make Gastonia a better place to call home.
In order to make this change, we need Mayor Bridgeman, Dave Kirlin, James Gallagher, and Todd Pierceall on our side. Their contact information can be found on the City of Gastonia's website. The link will be shared below.
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