After one year of setbacks, pushbacks and complaints from nearby residents, developer Todd Franklin is finally realizing his vision of transforming Redding's troubled Carnegie Park into a food truck court.
“You know, there were a lot of issues that kept coming up,” Franklin said. “And you know, in time with the ABC license, we finally got that approved. So all that's kind of behind us and we're looking to move forward.”
The park has long been a hotspot for illegal camping and drug activity, but Franklin hopes bringing people back will change that.
“Currently, people don't come downtown for fear of safety, fear of being panhandled, whatever the reason is,” Franklin said. “And I think this is really going to help out.”
Final Draft co-owner Adam Ward agrees.
“It's not a very safe park as it is right now,” Ward said. “So when those fences go up and Todd puts up the platform and the food trucks come in, it's going to provide just a safer area.”
The owner of nearby retail store Carousel has long struggled with activity spilling over from the park and onto her front steps.
So when she heard the project was back on track, she was ecstatic.
“I'm just excited to see what it does to change the whole area,” Russell said. “But I think I'm excited to just see more people who don't typically come downtown, come downtown and feel safe doing it.”
One year later, most everyone appears to be on board and shares Franklin's vision for a bustling downtown.
“I think it's going to be great for business, great for the downtown,” Ward said “It's about making the pie bigger, not splitting the pie up. So I think all of the businesses will benefit from the additional traffic.”
Franklin says it's been a long, difficult road, but he's glad everything is finally coming together and he's thankful for the support he's gotten from the community along the way.
“It's so easy to give up when you get push back, people saying this is not going to work,” Franklin said. “But if you truly believe in a project you see it through. And that's kind of where we're at right now.”
If weather permits, work could begin on the park in as early as two weeks.
Franklin hopes to have the project completed and ready to open in time for summer.