This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Stadium debate overshadows real good news for Franklin

On the night of April 22, after meeting behind closed doors for two hours, all six Franklin aldermen emerged to vote down a proposed Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the city and Mike Zimmerman to build a minor league baseball stadium designed to be a catalyst for a downtown Franklin district.

The unanimous vote to reject reverberated through the entire city and beyond. An explosion of discussion ensued about whether it was the right move or not.

Meanwhile, a pretty big deal took place in Franklin quietly, completely unnoticed less than 48 hours later. Several elected and other officials participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on April 24 for a new 100-room Hampton Inn & Suites Milwaukee/Franklin, located at 6901 S. 76th Street, roughly 76th and Loomis Road.

It was as if a branch fell in the forest. It happened, but nobody knew because the town’s focus was somewhere else. And that’s too bad because make no mistake, it’s finally some big news for a city where nothing happens from an economic development standpoint unless you’re a bank (if you have a drive thru that really helps), gas station, or pharmacy that sells beer and wine.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Thursday, April 24th at the construction site. The property is owned by FF&E, LLC and will be operated by Everest Hospitality, LLC. Construction is led by La Crosse, WI based design-build firm TCI Architects, Engineers, Contractor, Inc. and is expected to be completed by the winter of 2014.

"We are excited to break ground on this project and look forward to bringing a new lodging option to Franklin," said Lance Schaefer, President, Everest Hospitality, LLC. "Hampton properties are designed to accommodate both business and leisure travelers. With amenities like complimentary hot breakfast with fresh-baked waffles, complimentary Wi-Fi and fresh clean beds, the Hampton Inn & Suites Milwaukee/Franklin will provide all the services and value-added amenities desired by those traveling to the Franklin area."

Once open, the Hampton Inn & Suites Milwaukee/Franklin will provide an estimated 35 new jobs to the Franklin area.

The five-story hotel will also feature Hampton’s “Perfect Mix Lobby”, designed with a variety of seating and lighting options for both leisure and business travelers as an extension of the guestroom. The hotel promise to have an approach to friendly customer service, anticipating guests’ needs and providing travelers with helpful suggestions about area attractions, historical facts and fun things to do around town. Additionally, the hotel plans to be infused with local photography and artwork, highlighting its connection to the Franklin community.

Today, I spoke with Lance Schaefer, president of Everest Hospitality, who’s extremely happy to open the second hotel in Franklin. Last November, Schaefer told FranklinNOW, "The Hampton Inn & Suites will be the newest addition to the Franklin lodging market, with a product that is ideally suited for business and leisure travelers.”

This is a start from turning Rust Bowl Franklin into 2014.

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