Franklin Square, Long Island
Franklin Square, Long Island, is an unincorporated town of 12,000 people which straddles Hempstead Turnpike some 20 miles outside of New York City. The town has no industry. Formerly an agricultural area, the land is now largely taken up with suburban homes.
Local business consists almost exclusively of about 25 stores of all types which line both sides of the main thorough-fare for a distance of approximately four blocks. The retail merchants were all doing exceptionally well during the present war period.
Present prosperity, however, seemed to hinge largely on the fact that gasoline rationing and other wartime controls forced residents to do their shopping locally. Indications were that with the return of peace many would go back to shopping in nearby competitive communities, where larger, more modern stores are located.
The only real solution, and therefore the prime element in the town’s postwar planning, seemed to be to modernize the shopping facilities. But, because these were individually owned by small businessmen with limited capital, and since, to be successful, the plan called for a virtual modernizing of the entire business community, ‘it posed a challenging problem.
To meet the challenge, all the local businessmen were called together in a single meeting. The probabilities of postwar loss in trade were explained to them in simple facts and figures. Then the following daring proposal was made by the community planning committee:
The concrete results
The local businessmen have subscribed to the plan 100 percent.
A single architectural layout has been made of the pro-posed new “Main Street.” A group of large concerns, both industrial and commercial, have supplied experts to aid in the planning. A number of contracts have been entered into to do the work as soon as materials are available.
Besides these actions bearing directly on the merchants’ collective decision to modernize their business properties, the following additional planning projects have been inaugurated in Franklin Square
Not content with continuing to plan in such realistic fashion for the future of their community, the economic structure of which is made up entirely of small commercial businesses, the Franklin Square planners have arranged nothing less than an hour and a half network television broadcast to show what one small town can do.