Frankford shows off new town hall at former J.P. court

The Town of Frankford this week held its monthly town council meeting not in the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company’s meeting room, as it has for more than five years, but in the building next door that formerly housed a J.P. Court. However, it’s no longer a court building — it’s the new town hall.

The Town spent the last month moving the town hall operations, as well as the police department, into the Town-owned building, so as to put all Town operations in one place. They celebrated the move with an open house centered around the council meeting.

“I want to extend our thanks to the Frankford fire department for using their facilities for the last five or six years,” said Mayor Joanne Bacon.

Town Treasurer Marty Presley said the Town to-date had spent $10,172 to make the move, including $1,400 in furniture, $1,500 in technology and $3,995 on paint.

He noted that the police department has the entire second floor of the building, as well as two rooms on the first floor. He added that the Town plans to add a holding cell to the building, as one currently does not exist there.

The Town plans to use the flagpole out front, as well as have a sign and bulletin board.

Presley said the council decided to move into the building last summer and took a hard look at all the properties owned by the Town. He said Realtors were brought in to review the properties and give estimates as to the worth of those properties.

“Obviously, the town of Frankford is not Millsboro or downtown Dagsboro,” he said, noting that if there were more of a real estate demand for commercial space in the town, it would not be financially worth it (in per square-feet terms) to sell the properties.

Presley said the Town wants to hold onto the old town hall, located at 5 Main Street, as it is a historic landmark, and they hope to preserve it in the future.

They are, however, interested in renting the building.

Property owner Russell Davenport told council he was interested in purchasing the building to open a small store that would sell ice cream and other treats.

“I’m the only person interested in doing business in Frankford, and you people are kicking me right out,” said Davenport. “What’s here for anybody in Frankford? We got nothing… I’m just trying to do something.”

Davenport said he wanted to give residents a reason to be out of their homes and a place for people to mingle.

“You’ve got nowhere to go, nothing to do. You’ve got to ride 3 to 5 miles to get it.”

Presley reiterated that the Town was not interested in selling the building, at least in the next year or two.

“I think the town councils in the last 18 months have come a long way,” said resident and former council president Elizabeth Carpenter, who added she was happy about the move to the old J.P. Court building. “It feels more like a town. I know that takes a lot of hard time… Please know you’re appreciated.

“Realize, too, it takes a long time to right a ship. Two years ago, we were not in this place. And I don’t mean, this place,” she said of the building. “Realize how far we’ve come and be proud of that. I think the whole town should be, too.”

Property owner Kathy Murray echoed Carpenter’s comments and congratulated the council.

“This is just a wonderful facility. I’m thankful you made the decision to move over here… Well done.”

Resident Albert Franklin said the council has done a great deal for the town and its citizens, which should be recognized.

“I think we hear a lot of negative stuff. We need to hear more positive stuff,” he said, noting he’s lived in the town for more than 80 years. He then presented a personal check to the Town.

“It’s what we can do for Frankford, not what Frankford can do for us all the time.”

Presley thanked Franklin and the town for their support.

“It’s a pretty building. We should be proud of it… It’s the Town’s building.”

In other Town news:

• Kyle Gulbronson of AECOM told council they are on the final stretch of the Town’s feasibility study for improvements to the Town water system. He said the draft for the study should be completed by the end of the month.

• The Town received two bids related to paving the parking lot adjacent to Frankford Town Park — $40,000 and $49,000. Presley said he has been in contact with state Rep. Rich Collins, who offered financial help to the Town. Collins told Presley they should be able to have the property paved by June 1.

• The Town is looking for people to serve on the budget committee. As it stands, property owners Robert and Kathy Murray, as well as Presley, had signed up to serve on the committee. Those interested in serving should contact town hall. Presley said they hope to present the budget in June.

• Envision Frankford will be having an Easter event on April 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Frankford Town Park. The special guest of the day will be the Easter Bunny.