Big things are coming in 2018 to Williamson County.
On Monday morning, Franklin Tomorrow hosted its monthly talk, with a special end-of-year topic focused on predicting the trends and issues that will affect life here in the coming year.
Titled “Engage 2018: Three Things to Know for 2018,” the speakers were local luminaries from across different sectors: Franklin Mayor Ken Moore, Lisa Wurth, Benchmark REALTY and immediate past president of the Williamson County Association of Realtors, Ellie Westman Chin of the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Franklin Synergy Bank CEO Richard Herrington, representing Williamson Inc.
“None of us have a crystal ball, but this panel of experts does have a strong grasp of the issues and trends emerging in their business and community sectors,” said Mindy Tate, Franklin Tomorrow executive director. The event was hosted by Franklin’s campus of Columbia State Community College.
Moore spoke first, and transit was the first thing on his mind. He said the Southern Corridor Study, being undertaken by the Metropolitan Planning Organization, has now officially begun. It will create a roadmap for the mass transit future of south of Nashville.
“This will detail what some realistic options are for us going forward,” Moore said. “We also have the regional transit authorities attention as far as finding locations in Franklin being a potential park-n-ride location.”
Also on his mind was “the largest capital project ever undertaken by the city of Franklin,” a $100 million wastewater treatment facility. The facility will increase wastewater processing capacity from 12 million to 16 million gallons per day to match rising population. It will be completed in 2018.
The mayor also talked about investment in Franklin, such as the Harpeth Square hotel project groundbreaking. Also, he mentioned the First Tennessee Bank renovation.
Wurth spoke after Moore, and spoke about housing.
“We have experienced a phenomenal amount of growth over the past few years,” she said.
She predicted that the county will continue to see increasing property values.
“It will likely slow a little but, just because the growth has been so rapid,” she said.
She said that affordable housing, categorized at homes priced at under $425,000, will continue to be in short supply.
“What we call affordable housing in Williamson County, we are seeing about a 90 percent shortage [in inventory] of the actual demand,” Wurth said.
But, overall, the trend will be towards increasing supply, she said.
Chin spoke about tourism.
“A couple thing I am very excited about is the new Franklin Public Arts Commission,” Chin said.
She said that “cultural” tourists stay longer and spend more money.
“Youth and amature sports events are a big industry in this county,” she said.
The county’s Sports Authority is working on plans to develop a youth sports complex to draw national and regional tournaments.
We have 4,400 hotel rooms available, with another 2,200 in the pipeline being built, she said. The area, she said, is primed to catch overflow from Nashville.