Independence National Historical Park has requested $8.8 million in funding to refurbish Franklin Court, the one-time home of Benjamin Franklin.
The project, which is subject to National Park Service approval and funding, would modernize exhibits and the theater, but also upgrade the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, security, fire suppression, lighting and electrical systems, as well as walkways and brick walls. It would also incorporate the latest research about Franklin.
The project is just one of $94.2 million worth of "investment priorities" laid out in the Independence National Historical Park's first-ever business plan, which it released this summer.
Mary A. Bomar, superintendent of Independence National Historical Park and interim regional director, called the document "a roadmap to success for the coming years."
"Beyond a simple roadmap, this is also a guide for our partners," she added.
Partners include Friends of Independence National Historical Park (a nonprofit fund-raising entity), Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp., Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Independence Visitor Center Corp., National Constitution Center, Lights of Liberty, Historical Philadelphia Inc., Eastern National and others.
In recent years, the park has relied increasingly on funding from outside sources. Construction of the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Visitor Center and National Constitution Center were funded through a variety of sources — including city, state and federal governments, foundations, corporate sponsors and individuals.
Additional upgrades, including landscaping of Independence Mall, have been publicly discussed. But the initiatives are considered "top investment priorities," according to the business plan.