Just the Facts

Town of Franklin becoming more social

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Dan Finnerty

After more than a year of effort, the Town of Franklin will soon have a social district. Starting June 22, Franklin will join 46 other North Carolina municipalities in their attempt to enhance economic development principles designed to attract citizens and visitors to the downtown area, increase foot-traffic, and provide new revenue opportunities for restaurants and retail establishments, according to a statement by the Town of Franklin. 

By definition, a social district is a designated outdoor area where people can legally consume alcoholic beverages. Individuals who purchase the “social district” cups can carry their purchased beverage on the sidewalks within the social district and into participating businesses. Each cup will cost $4 and is re-usable, with stipulations. 

social district map
THE SOCIAL District map shows the extent of the district relative to downtown Franklin. The district begins at Town Hall, includes Phillips Street and Stewart Street and extends to Lazy Hiker Brewery. The county-owned town square around the gazebo, the clock tower and Rankin Square are not included.

Social districting has been in the works since February 2023 and has been touted by the Town, debated by citizens, and primarily supported throughout the local business community. While the process was burdensome at times, Town Manager Amie Owens focused on some positives.

“It did take some time, but that was to ensure that all requirements were met … for example, other towns use aluminum cups or simple clear plastic cups. Franklin will use double-walled cups, which prevents condensation and could make stickers release,” explained Owens.

Signage conveying social districting stipulations include 18-inch sidewalk decals and door decals that state whether or not an establishment is participating. A decal indicating where social district cups can be purchased will also be posted.

social district marker
SOCIAL DISTRICT decals will be placed along the streets in which alcohol will be allowed.

A consumer cannot enter a participating social district establishment with a beverage from another establishment still in their cup. Dated stickers obtained at each participating establishment will be affixed to the cup to indicate the cup has been used at that establishment. If someone leaves one place and enters another, an additional sticker is applied. However, cups can be used as long as desired without having to purchase a new one on different days.

According to the map provided by the town, the social district will run along Main Street beginning at Town Hall, extends to Lazy Hiker Brewery and also includes Stewart Street just behind Franklin’s Main Street. Not included in the district are The Clock Tower, Gazebo, and Rankin Square which are owned by Macon County and are thereby alcohol-free. This includes the benches at the Gazebo and any area behind the fencing at Rankin Square and the Clock Tower.


As far as activities and events go, sponsors can opt to suspend the social district during an event if they choose to do so. Requests will be considered by the town council in conjunction with street closure applications.

Regarding any anticipated or unforeseen issues, Owens announced one more opportunity for citizens to ask questions prior to social district implementation. 

“A list of frequently asked questions has been posted, as part of the social district information, on the Town’s website and available via the QR code on all social district signage, which I hope will address concerns in advance.” She also observed, “The Town is respectful of Macon County’s policies and have signage that should eliminate alcoholic beverages being on those properties.”

The informational session will be held at the Town Hall Board Room on Thursday, June 20, beginning at 5:30 p.m., to answer questions anyone may still have prior to social districting beginning June 22.

To learn more about the social district, information can be obtained online at

https://franklinnc.com/franklin-nc-social-district.html or is available in hard copy at Town Hall. A quick response (QR) code to this information is also included with all boundary markers and signs within the social district. Information can likewise be obtained via phone at Town Hall: (828) 524-2516. 

New Town Hall hours

Recently, the Town of Franklin announced Town Hall hours are changing effective Monday, June 10. New office hours will be Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and Fridays, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Payments at the window will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. until 5:25 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. until 2:55 p.m. on Friday. The drop box will remain available for payments before and after hours and on weekends.

“Customers have asked for extended hours in order to make payments. In order to provide this service, we are doing a trial run with the new schedule. If it is found that this schedule is not effective or does not produce the desired result, the schedule will be changed back to standardized 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. office hours,” said Town Manager Amie Owens.

The new hours will be posted and will include a contact telephone number if someone needs assistance after normal hours on Fridays. For more information, contact Town Manager Amie Owens at (828) 524-2516 x 305 or via email at [email protected].