Each year since 1996, Leadership Franklin classes have developed and executed group projects that have shaped the community in meaningful ways. Following are highlights of projects completed over the last 20 years, by each graduating class.
CLASS OF 2018-2019
Downtown Franklin Bike Rack: The commission of an artist to create a bike rack for downtown Franklin. The functional public art project was designed by artist Duncan McDaniel.
Mind the Gap Program: Mind the Gap, in partnership with the Franklin Theater, addresses the issue of hunger in Franklin and Williamson County. One in 5 children and one in 8 in the general population suffers from food insecurity in Middle Tennessee.
Community Childcare Center on Fowlkes Avenue: The Community Childcare Center facility provides childcare for ages 6 weeks to 6 years to families of lower incomes. This team is working to expand computer education classes by purchasing twelve laptops, and enhance and expand the playground area. They have raised more than $15,000 toward these goals.
Overlook Improvements at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm: To continue the beautification of Harlinsdale Farm by creating a safer, more accessible multi-use trail. The trail is open to walkers, as well as pets and horseback riders. The team will add a bench at a scenic overlook on the trail, as well as a hitching post for riders who wish to dismount and enjoy the view. For dog owners, “dog stations” will be added along the trail to make it easier to clean up after pets.
CLASS OF 2017-2018
Legends in Williamson County Video Feature: A video series immortalizing the contributions of Franklin’s Visionary Leaders. These impressive individuals come from all walks of life and have made contributions that we enjoy to this day. More than visionaries, however, each of them has acted on his or her creative and thoughtful vision to inspire others and engage business, individuals and government to improve and preserve this place Franklin citizens call home for future generations. This year’s five living legends are Mary Pearce, Thelma Battle, Tom Lawrence, Judy Hayes and Julian Bibb.
Williamson County Foster Care Journal: A journal created for over 100 teens in Williamson County. The journal’s cover has a colorful design, while its pages are kid-friendly for creative writing. Group members believe these care journals will help guide individuals in foster care toward organized thoughts and feelings while expressing their true self identity. An anonymous donation was given so that Leadership Franklin’s foster care journals are distributed for the next ten years. Alpha Graphics produced the initial order.
WWII Veterans: This project includes interviews of WWII Veterans living in the community. It is intended to recognize those you served to protect our country. It was a generation that did not talk much about what happened during this war.
Improvements to Pinkerton Park: The Leadership Franklin Class of 2017-2018 is partnering with Friends of Franklin Parks and the City of Franklin Parks Department to complete a community improvement project at Pinkerton Park. Work will include upgrades to the Tinkerbell Pavilion, ADA compliant access to the pavilion, a charging bar for electronics, a concrete ping pong table, shade sails and benches for park users.
Class of 2016-2017
Pocket Park, located at 204 Old Liberty Pike, Franklin, TN: The group seeks to redevelop an unused lot and enhance the stream buffer zone. This new park will provide an accessible sitting area, flower garden, and green space for visitors.
Get RAD (aka Get Real Against Drugs): This project was coordinated with the Williamson County Sheriff Office’s Drug Task Force and the Franklin YMCA to host two “Get RAD” informational meetings. These sessions included exhibits, videos and information on illicit drug use in Franklin and Williamson County.
Video Presentation of Visionaries in our Community: This team project seeks to preserve our history relative to the business impact of leaders in our community.
Lake Dock at Harlinsdale Farm: This new permanent structure will be extended to accommodate additional visitors to the park. The project also includes a handicap-accessible walkway.
CLASS OF 2015-2016
Water Monster – Working Toward Zero Waste: This Leadership Franklin project focused on the amount of solid waste generated by the attendees of the many outdoor events held in Franklin, with an ultimate goal of "Zero Waste". The group laid the groundwork for other Leadership Franklin classes to continue these efforts into the future.
Canoe Launch for City of Franklin Parks: The group determined to build a canoe launch ramp/staircase near the entrance to Pinkerton Park. They considered several project options related to historical markers, trails and Harpeth River access. The idea was embraced with a strong commitment from the City's Parks Department. Technical expertise was provided by Parks staff and from the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association. Donations of funding, materials and volunteer support were provided by a number of organizations, but none more crucial than the Franklin Engineering and Parks departments- without their support this project would not have happened so smoothly!
The Leadership Franklin House at Harlinsdale: Coming Soon!
Permanent Exhibit to Recognize 20 Years of Leadership Franklin and Its Graduates: In recognition of the 20th Anniversary of Leadership Franklin, this group prepared a plaque, to be hung in City Hall, recognizing the members of the first Twenty Classes of Leadership Franklin. The purpose of the project is to generate a greater awareness of the mission and goals of Leadership Franklin and its alumni throughout Franklin and Williamson County, Tennessee.
CLASS OF 2014-2015
Donation Station Implementation: Leveraging work done by a previous class, this group installed 10 “Donation Stations” in key, high traffic Franklin retail establishments and tourist sites whereby visitors are invited to make a financial contribution to help preserve Franklin’s Civil War Battlefield. Funds donated go to Franklin’s Charge and will be used to purchase property to expand the park and preserve this hallowed ground.
Leadership Franklin Scholarship Fund: The team set out to raise funds to endow the Leadership Franklin Scholarship Fund through the alumni body and friends of the organization. They developed their comprehensive plan and executed it, raising thousands of dollars and ensuring that worthy participants can utilize the Scholarship Fund in the future.
K9 Gunner Body Armor Partnership: Body armor vests were purchased for Williamson County Sheriff's K-9 officers, with funds given to support the ongoing operation as well as to raise awareness, support, and resources for K-9 veterans. K9 Gunner, a long-haired German Shepherd imported to the United States in 2007, is now a retired employee of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department. Gunner, originally born Kazon in Germany, was just 13 months old when he joined the force in 2008 at the accompaniment of Corporal Debbie Rogers, who helped lay the foundation for the K9 unit in Williamson County.
The Little Free Library® : A partnership has been established with the Little Free Library® to provide access for children and adults whenever they please.
The Little Free Library® is a lending tool for the community which promotes the concept of read a box –share a book. All books are free. This program promotes sharing, new friendships, community and literacy in our local neighborhoods.
CLASS OF 2013-2014
McLemore House - City of Franklin Parks Historic Audio Tour: The City of Franklin Parks Historic Audio Tour allows residents and tourists visiting the city to access the battlefield’s core areas within the historic parks. The historic cell phone tour is an affordable way to share interpretative information with visitors through a self-guided tour, and provides a unique way to educate and inform visitors of the history and multiple sites of the Battlefield of Franklin by listening to interpretative information while driving to each site or visiting the interactive webpage for a digital tour of local historic parks. With a self-guided cell phone audio tour, visitors can access a range of information simply by dialing a few keys on their phone.
The Leadership Franklin Class Project added two new stops to the existing tour to bring awareness of the national registered McLemore House, built in 1880 by former slave Harvey McLemore. The group provided and performed audio history about the home on the tour stop. The group also developed a rack card for “all” the tour stops for the entire cell phone tour and partnered with the Williamson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Franklin Parks Department and the African-American Heritage Society to share the story prior to the celebration of the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Franklin.
Currently, the historic cell phone tour averages over 500 phone calls a month from 51 states and Canada. The rack card will be distributed to the McLemore Museum, hotels, motels, the Visitors Center, City Hall and all historic sites. The card will also be included in all packets provided to tourists during the Sesquicentennial events.
How Do We Get Our Children Involved? These class members wanted to bring the history of Franklin to life, and to make history exciting and fun for all--especially our children. They presented the history of Franklin through their own eyes and through their own words.. to tell bits and pieces of Franklin’s history that they found unique, scary or interesting and to tell it in the ways they would want to learn. The group’s product was a video and was brought to life by 10-year old Sara Rooke, who interviewed 10-year old Hattie McGavock (played by Sara’s friend) during the Battle of Franklin.
Voices of the Battle: A Driving Tour from Carter House to Carnton Plantation: Leadership Franklin class members figured out a solution to undertake the creation of a driving tour app for iTunes and Android from the Carter House to Carnton Plantation that highlights first-hand accounts of fifteen people deeply affected by or significant to this battle. The group expanded the app to include other heritage and historic sites in the area that are outside of this specific tour.
The tour moves along Columbia Pike and Lewisburg Pike, with stops at historical sites including the Carter House, Lotz House, the Carter cotton gin, Collins Farm, Carnton Plantation and Toussaint L’Overture Cemetery. For the recordings, we invited local citizens and celebrities represent the part of the real life players.
Among the local citizens, we had the following participate: Joel Tomlin, Jay Sheridan, Jimmy Gentry, Caroline Cross, Robert Blair and Shanna Jackson. Local authors Robert Hicks, Eric A. Jacobson and Lisa Patton and local actor Chris Bosen also donated their time for the recordings. Country music artist Rodney Atkins and Grammy Award-winning artist Sheryl Crow both contributed to our app by reading the accounts from Spencer Talley and Carrie McGavock.
Mimi’s Room: This Leadership Franklin group’s mission was to fill a need in Williamson County Juvenile Court. State-of-the-art courtrooms serve every group and every person well, except small children. In a courtroom, a young boy or girl may feel intimidated or like a fish out of water. The project was to take the next logical step for serving the needs of small children to create "Mimi’s Room." The group cleaned out the junk, completed two paint jobs and added new, fresh carpeting. Miranda Christy and Susan Minor used wisdom from CASA in supplying appropriate toys, puzzles and “work stations.” Mimi’s Room was dedicated with a ribbon cutting on April 2, 2014.
CLASS OF 2012-2013
Middle College Engagement: This class project provided legitimate real-world opportunities for Middle College students to solve problems and demonstrate their creativity. The school's principal, Brian Bass, said his biggest need is for students to be engaged in the community, and to learn by doing. He asked if Leadership Franklin could provide him with three or four projects, each tied to a company and/or sponsor so that the students could get guidance, mentoring, and then be judged on their final work. What the Leadership Franklin group submitted was two sample projects, with a goal to develop two more projects from their own businesses or community connections and fulfill the principal's request.
Where are Bucky and Bonnie: The purpose of this project was to increase awareness among the citizens of Franklin and Williamson County about Franklin Parks and the Williamson County Library. The program began during National Library Week, which was April 14th – April 20th, and officially kicked off at Pinkerton Park on Saturday, April 20th during the Arbor Day Celebration. Contestants took a picture of Bucky and Bonnie, two popular local miniature horses, and submitted them to the main branch of the Williamson County Library in Franklin to be entered in a drawing for prizes.
CLASS OF 2011-2012
Miles of Smiles: The objective of Miles of Smiles was to create an initiative to provide preventive dental care to children in Williamson County who do not have dental provision. After working to secure dentists who would provide vouchers for this initiative, further research revealed that all children in Williamson County have access to dental care. Because the medical community continues to see the need, a blueprint has been established to help future projects bring this access to reality among those on TennCare and to the uninsured. The blueprint includes three potential projects:
· Create a database of routine dental services available to underserved children in Williamson County.
· Complete analysis to discover the issues that prevent underserved children from receiving the care that is accessible, and create an action plan to deal with the obstacles.
· Build awareness of the program for underserved families in Williamson County.
Get Off the Couch, Franklin! Come Out and Play! This project promoted the Quality of Life residents and visitors to Franklin enjoy, in part due to the outstanding city park facilities. The group produced a short video tour of two parks and proposed QR codes to be utilized in the parks to make this information easy to access from any smart phone or tablet.
Promote the Vote: Voting in Williamson County has historically had low turnouts at the polls, whether due to voter apathy, lack of promotion of the election dates and candidates, or a sense from the vast majority of citizens that their votes do not matter in local and national elections.
Leadership Franklin and Franklin Tomorrow joined efforts through an ongoing voter awareness campaign titled “Promote the Vote”. Throughout this long-term, ongoing campaign, Franklin Tomorrow fostered a three-prong sustainment plan. The organization targeted local businesses to get involved with voter information tables where citizens can get information on voter registration, as well as candidate and election information. Through this campaign, a website portal to “Promote the Vote” was created so that citizens can be better educated on local and national voting information. And finally, a series of posters were created to increase awareness.
CLASS OF 2010-2011
CLASS OF 2009-2010
· Spearheaded the creation of the Franklin Parks Foundation to promote the expansion and improvement of public park land in Franklin. This organization has become the non-profit Friends of Franklin Parks.
· Series of short programs for middle school students featuring guest speakers who offer messages to encourage their success.
· Improving driving safety for Franklin's maturing population.
· Established a Live Green Partnership to encourage efforts of local businesses and community organizations in implementing sustainable practices in their daily business operations. The partnership also created a network of businesses that can share experiences in creating efficiencies and enhancing profitability through sustainable business practices.
· Initiated a Leadership Franklin High Scholarship for High School Leaders.
CLASS OF 2008-2009
· Established criteria for and awarded a Scholarship for a graduating senior based upon community service.
· Mercy Children's Clinic Oral Hygiene for Children--coordinating oral healthcare to the uninsured and underserved children in our community by recruiting providers who will volunteer their services in their offices.
· evaluated options for energy management for Franklin Special Schools District.
· Develop strategies that will encourage members and leaders of the historic Natchez community to participate in the Citizens Drug Academy.
· Compiled a calendar of historic sites in Williamson County.
CLASS OF 2007-2008
· Leadership Franklin Best Practices Manual.
· The Bicentennial Park public awareness project.
· Smoke alarm installation campaign.
· Development of partnerships for an arts event for youth in downtown Franklin.
· Support the expansion of affordable higher education opportunities in Williamson County through Columbia State Community College and the proposed Williamson County Center for Higher Learning.
CLASS OF 2006-2007
· Williamson County Cash Alliance Financial Stability Resource Guide: Help Williamson County residents with acquiring a house.
· Reaching the underserved in Williamson County.
· Membership directory of Leadership Franklin Alumni.
· Leadership Franklin Leadership Award.
· Historic Audio Tour of Franklin.
CLASS OF 2005-2006
· Analyze the needs to define a vision for the Historic Village to become a reality.
· Support the development of the Visitor's Center in downtown Franklin to support the increasing tourist population.
· The creation of public restrooms in downtown Franklin to accommodate the high volume of traffic that is present on a daily basis.
· Develop a comprehensive recycling program for the residents of the city of Franklin.
CLASS OF 2004-2005
· A Vision for Leadership Franklin: A Long Term Plan.
· Seek federal transportation grant for a Harpeth River Walk.
· Facilitate the next steps to form a redevelopment district for the downtown Harpeth River corridor.
· The creation of a Leadership Franklin Alumni Association.
CLASS OF 2003-2004
· Develop a plan for the identification, preservation and recognition of the Second Avenue settlement established by freed slaves in Franklin during the Reconstruction era, an area otherwise known as the "Bucket of Blood".
· Develop an informational kiosk for visitors in downtown Franklin.
· Travel reduction incentive ordinance.
· Historic preservation ordinance for City and County.
CLASS OF 2002-2003
· The Cost of Educational Excellence.
· Greater Franklin area coalition of churches.
· Williamson County Resource Guide; Multi-cultural resources; connecting people with resources.
· Recognition of Franklin police and fire officers who risked their lives for citizens of Franklin.
CLASS OF 2001-2002
CLASS OF 2000-2001
· The Williamson County Arts Center
· Volunteer fair
· International Sister City
· Establish an audio/video historical record of Franklin and surrounding communities.
CLASS OF 1999-2000
· The development of a small business incubator to promote minority entrepreneurship in the greater Franklin area.
· Williamson County Museum of History and Visitor's Center.
· Making Franklin competitive in the housing market for city and county employees.
· Franklin Amphitheater.
CLASS OF 1998-1999
· Historic driving tour package of Historic Franklin.
· Sports Council of Williamson County.
· Develop traditional neighborhood zoning ordinance that could be implemented for Franklin and Williamson County.
· "Hands on Franklin"--Franklin's volunteer network.
CLASS OF 1997-1998
· Harpeth River Walk
· Bicentennial Park
· Community Unity - Representatives to meet once a month.
· Williamson County and City of Franklin to discuss cross-jurisdiction problems.
· Metro - A study of the legal process and procedure for Williamson County and its incorporated areas to form a metro government.
CLASS OF 1996-1997
· Putting the City of Franklin on the Internet.
· The renovation and developing improvements of Columbia Avenue at Five Points to Jennings Street.
· Feasibility study of establishing a foundation for the enrichment of the arts in the schools of Williamson County.
· A comparison of selected financial data for high growth areas.