10 Big Changes That Occurred in Williamson County in 2021  

In a year filled with constant change and uncertainty, picking ten significant events that affected the county is not easy. Some of the changes listed below make a difference to everyone, while others might not mean much to everyone, but they might be highly significant to a portion of the county and beyond. While there are lots more, these have received a lot of attention.


Might as well get the pandemic mentioned first, as it has made the greatest impact to everyone’s lives with the availability of the vaccine, masks on/masks off, a new variant bringing another wave of illness and death, and then there is how it has brought change to business, education, and even everyday living. At the beginning of the year we were all still staying home and by the end of the year Governor Lee had rescinded the State of Emergency and the roads have once again become a knotted nightmare in the morning and evening. Much of life seems to be back to normal, yet now there are the issues of the unvaccinated, vaccine effectiveness over time and new variants.

2Crazy Real Estate Market

Being stuck in our homes for a significant length of time, business changes, the slowing of building, people choosing to live in their homes longer, as well as how various state governments are handling the pandemic have led to a great boom in moving home buying. There are suddenly tons of people wanting a home and not enough to go around, so prices are soaring and it is definitely a seller’s market. According to Rocket Homes, average home prices in Williamson County have increased 18.1% over October of 2020. There are 11.3% fewer homes available to buy in 2021 than there were in the previous year. Fifty-two percent of homes are selling for more than the asking price. And the average number of days on the market is eight, down from 27 in October of last year.

3Mack Hatcher Extension Opening

The first phase of the Mack Hatcher Memorial Parkway extension opened on Monday, November 29, one month after the announced date of October 31 due to supply chain issues, but the more than $45 million project that began in 2018 and delayed many a commuter during morning and evening rush hour is now complete. In the works for 25 years, it connects most of the west side of Franklin. But don’t sigh in relief just yet, there is a second phase that will widen Mack Hatcher from Columbia Pike to Murfreesboro Road in the near future with the plan to eventually make the Parkway a complete loop from Highway 96 to Columbia Pike. But for now, it will, hopefully, ease some of the traffic burden of the ever-growing City of Franklin.

4Labor Shortage

While other parts of the country were feeling the labor shortage before it hit Tennessee, it is now here. Small businesses are being hurt the worst, but it can be felt everywhere with large companies announcing hiring fairs through the media almost every day offering large sign-up bonuses. Just look around at restaurants, retail stores, daycares, hotels and other service industry jobs to see that there are not enough workers to fill all the needs as people head back to their pre-pandemic lives. Multiple factors are being noted as the cause, including fear of the coronavirus, worker discontent, more online work available, lack of affordable childcare, and an increase in early retirement. Businesses are cutting hours while others are just closing down.

5Heritage Foundation’s Franklin Grove Initiative

While the plans for the land housing the former O’More College of Design will have the greatest effect on those living near the property due to potential increased traffic, it will in the end bring more tourists, entrepreneurs, and those wanting to rent the renovated space for a wedding or other event. The first phase of the plan was the renovation of the Haynes-Berry House — now renamed the LeHew Mansion — into the Franklin Innovation Center as a space for new entrepreneurs to be housed so they can further develop their businesses. There are currently three offices occupied in the center and three more available. The next phase of development includes turning the Winsted Mansion into an art museum, building an event pavilion, and moving the Lee Buckner African American School to the site.

6Franklin Gets Four New Aldermen

Most elections see a small changing of the guard, but this year the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA) has had a 44% turnover taking on four new aldermen. Gabrielle Hanson won the open At Large seat, caused by the death of Alderman Pearl Bransford last November. Originally from Chicago, Hanson moved to Westhaven in 2012. She is the owner of Williamson Real Estate. Winning the seat representing Ward 3, Jason Potts replaces Scott Speedy. Born in Atlanta and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, he is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and is a Quality Assurance Manager for Parallon, a division of HCA Healthcare. The Ward 2 seat was won decisively by Matt Brown. He replaces Dana McLendon, who was on the BOMA for 22 years. Brown is the co-owner of BrandMETTLE, LLC. Patrick Baggett lives in one of the beautiful rehabbed homes on Murfreesboro Road. He and his family quickly embraced the “vibe” of the city when moving here 10 years ago from Alabama.

7Brentwood Broke Ground on Expanded YMCA

In late October, the Brentwood YMCA broke ground on their renovation and expansion of the Brentwood YMCA on Concord Road. The One Brentwood project will bring about the eventual closing of the Maryland Farms YMCA and bring the operation of both facilities under one roof. The new building will be named for former Chairman and CEO of Dollar General Stores and philanthropist Cal Turner, Jr.’s late wife, Margaret Turner. It will take two years to complete the much larger facility.

8Williamson County Medical Center Expansion

Everything seems to be expanding due to the large amount of growth in Williamson County. The Williamson County Medical Center is no exception. The $189 million project will increase its number of beds from 203 to 269 and update their services. This increase in services will include a behavioral health pod in the Emergency Room, an additional operating room in obstetrics, additional ICU services, and more space for patients’ families. The City of Franklin just approved an $150 million dollar bond issue to help in financing the expansion, to be paid back with future revenues.

9Fundraisers and Celebrations Are Coming Back

After being wiped out by necessary social distancing, all kinds of celebrations and events are coming back. From the Juneteenth Celebration to the lighting of the Christmas Tree in downtown Franklin, there is more and more group activity. This includes the return of the Pilgrimage Festival. Fundraisers like Bootlegger’s Bash and the 48th Annual Heritage Ball are also back. COVID-19 has been harsh on non-profit fundraising activities as their services have become more necessary. All these events are also helping people reconnect with friends and neighbors.

10Online Schools

One of the biggest changes that the pandemic has brought about is moving schooling to the internet so students could continue to learn while quarantined. It changed the face of education. While most students have returned to the classroom, the development of online school, which was in development for the future, is now another learning option. There are two online school communities in Williamson County, one for kindergarten through eighth grade, and one for nine through twelve. The Williamson County Board of Education is treating them as any other new school and is giving them names, colors and mascots.