I moved into Franklin in 1992 after I built the first of two homes here. Not one. Two.
Never during that time, more than 26 years, have I sensed the tremendous anticipation of the economic buzz and vitality that will take over our small city this Monday when the Milwaukee Milkmen will play their first home baseball game in the long-awaited Routine Field at Ballpark Commons.
In 2007, 12 years ago, I started blogging. My first piece was lengthy, outlining my optimism and analysis that Franklin had promising potential. Since that blog I was disappointed time after time. Nothing I had hoped for ever materialized with the rare exception of Kayla’s Playground. Even that star-studded project took an inordinate amount of time, facing thumb tacks in the road tossed by some city aldermen.
Don’t get me wrong. That was a free playground on a small tract of land that did need city funding. Disgracefully some stood in the way, fighting for ways to find fault. Ballpark Commons, by comparison, was much larger in size and scope. So it too, fell victim to the “can’t do” mentality pervasive in city government and amongst the 1950’s citizenship at large.
Like Kayla’s Playground, Ballpark Commons got done, albeit later than it should have. And now we, including me, who have been clamoring for even just one semblance of 21st century growth, will get our wish on Monday.
A crowd of happy people. Enjoying America’s pastime. At reasonable prices. That will bring families together. In a brand spanking new state-of-the art facility. You know how peanuts and hot dogs have a way of tasting ten times better at a ballgame? Just wait to see what you can eat at Routine Field.
Minor league baseball. Think promotions. There will be plenty, extra incentives to come and enjoy.
Prior to this Monday Franklin, for as long as I’ve lived here (over 26 years) has been a Nothingville. Why would anyone want to come here, stay here, spend money here, look for a job here. We’ve been a trail on the path to Oak Creek where life actually exists. On Monday Franklin lifts the calendar from mid 1950-s to TODAY.
This is a great story. A Franklin native who still lives here decided to give back to his community. At any of the hundreds of times he was rudely treated, insulted, even threatened, he could have said that’s enough, I’m going home. He stuck with it, assembled, and I know some of them, a super-talented team, and hung in there.
Because this is still Franklin, run by folks who are essentially clueless, imagine how challenged they were with a project of this immense size and significance. Somehow it got done. I give little credit to the powers that be who simply had to show up at meetings and asked that their rings be kissed. They did no heavy lifting. Yet some will be there this season for the Milwaukee Milkmen to pose for holy pictures looking for slaps on the back.
Guaranteed some won’t be happy. There will be lights and noise and traffic. In 2019 that’s called normalcy.
I’ve got news for that crowd. Don’t like it? Well guess what? Don’t have to go to any games. Stay home. On nights of games hide under your mattress. That’s your prerogative.
Just do me a simple favor. Don’t begrudge me, and many, many others, and we’re out there, from spending our hard-earned money to enjoy what we’ve been waiting for, for decades.
Hopefully Ballpark Commons can be the start of much more to come.
6/22/19 UPDATE: Bring it on!