Park reviews: Franklin Park

photos by Nick Skinner

From the top of the hill, you get a stunning view of the city, a glimpse of the church steeple, and a panoramic of the whole park.

As I walked up the grassy hill at Franklin community park, I stopped to catch a view. I could see the towering steeple of the Franklin Church, the quiet town of Franklin, as well as the whole park and all the wonderful facilities the park had to offer. Located in the village of Franklin, only 8 minutes away from Groves, the park has plenty to offer in terms of facilities and activities. For athletics, the park has three baseball fields that are maintained and in good condition. The only complaint being that the upper stands at one field are overgrown and are eroded at the bottom. There is also a tennis area with three courts, benches, and a tall fence that keeps balls from hitting nearby park goers. The tennis courts have a concrete base that is maintained but still has slight cracks around the edges, the single basketball court is in a similar condition. Also in the park is a large play structure and swing set as well as many small play structures. The main play structure was recently built and is in great condition, while the swing set and smaller structures are older but are safe and well maintained. The majority of the park is a very large open field which is always mowed and kept trash free. Franklin park is very dog friendly and has plenty of space to let them run free. They also have a station by the parking lot which dispenses doggie bags and a sign reminding owners to be responsible. As for bathroom facilities, the park has a single building with one male and one female bathroom. It has a diaper changing station and automatic sinks, although the soap is not automatic They are kept in good condition and are clean, and the building also has a drinking fountain on the outside.

Franklin hill is one of the highlights of the park. After climbing this hill, you can see a fantastic view of not only the entire park but also the whole town of Franklin. In the winter this hill is one of the best sledding spots in the metro area.

Forming a loop around most of the park are two, three foot wide, dirt trails. The largest trail is mostly flat and goes around the perimeter of the park in a loop for about half a mile. The smaller trail, located towards the back of the park, takes you up a massive incline into a heavily wooded part of the park. The trail here is very thin, making it impossible to social distance. However, the trees and vines form a larger canopy over most of the trail making it a beautiful spot for pictures. The trails are always covered with gravel and clear of grass, sticks, trash and obstructions like fallen trees. It is quite muddy at the divergence of the two trials requiring you to take a detour through one of the baseball fields. The first inclined part of the second trial has eroded making it difficult to climb for those not in good physical condition and impossible for the handicapped. The second trail exits the woods at the top of a massive hill overlooking the whole park, the view is great as you can see the whole park as well as the nearby town of Franklin and is a great spot for a photo. The hill has a trail going down the middle which connects to the main trail, the hill is covered by a lush field of tall grass on either side of the trail. The hill itself is very steep making it an amazing place to sled and snowboard in the winter, however those not in good physical condition will not enjoy the climb. One of the notable attractions in the park is the church, it forms a “U” around. The church is quite pretty and adds to the view of the park, it is popular among photographers. There is also a large gazebo with a small garden in the park where people can sit and enjoy the quiet.

At the center of the park is the Historical Franklin Church, an absolutely stunning sight. While the church is not part of the park, it's still one of the main attractions.

Social distancing is very easy at Franklin park, it's very open and very easy to keep six feet apart. The only problem would be on the smaller trail where there isn't a lot of space to distance yourself from other hikers. While the park is not insanely crowded, it can draw a decent amount of people on the weekend so if you really want to avoid COVID it's best to go on a week day or early in the morning. There is a good amount of parking as well as the large church parking lot for overflow making finding a spot very easy. There's no need to worry about danger at the park, Franklin has an almost non existent crime rate and the police station is only a thirty second walk away. The park is not crowded and quiet during school hours making it an excellent place to do online classes from. While in most of the park your own wifi would be required, the area near the Franklin library has free wifi and also many picnic tables. Overall Franklin is a beautiful and quiet park that I highly recommend if you want somewhere to do virtual school, play sports or take your dog without being reprimanded.

Franklin park has a beautiful gazebo surrounded by a garden where you can sit and enjoy the park or participate in Zoom class with the quiet background of nature.

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