Franklin Co. non-profit proposes community hub for Ferrum property

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:42 PM EDT
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FERRUM, Va. (WDBJ) - Franklin County is considering what to do with 85 acres of undeveloped property in Ferrum. And now, a non-profit group is pitching a homegrown plan it says will create a community hub, provide housing and protect green space in the area.

When Franklin County said it was entertaining ideas for the property, residents of Ferrum wasted no time banding together and building a comprehensive proposal.

Rebecca Saunders is Executive Director of the group ‘Friends of Ferrum Park.’

“And one of the things that became very clear to us as we started this process is that there is no public space in Ferrum currently,” Saunders told WDBJ7. “There are no parks, there are no public restrooms. There’s not even a park bench that is public here.”

She said the group’s proposal is the result of extensive community feedback.

It includes space for public activities and events, and limited housing that’s accessible for seniors and affordable for people who work in the area. And a central goal is to protect green space and the rural character of the community.

“I hope that the supervisors see that this isn’t just some wild plan from a couple of folks,” Saunders said. “Like, it is literally a community-backed push for claiming something that has never been offered, in terms of parks and recreation and anything that allows Ferrum to have a space for itself.”

Sept. 12 was the deadline for proposals, and the county reportedly received at least one other.

County staffers are now evaluating those plans with the hope of selecting a partner for the property by the end of the year.