Franklin Board Likes Idea of FSSD Parks Partnership

Starting to get some momentum, Franklin and its neighboring school district may foster a partnership to expand the city’s park system.

After it went before the Franklin Special School District, the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen had its chance to review Tuesday night a professional service agreement that would allow for a concept plan creation.

“Having the opportunity to partner together is a win-win for the community and the school district,” Superintendent David Snowden said. “Our board received it in a very positive fashion. There were was a lot of heads nodding. We are looking forward to this. It’s a win-win when governmental entities can work together, and this is the way I see this project.”

To the price tag of nearly $35,000, the plan will look at several FSSD campuses – Johnson Elementary, Freedom Intermediate, Poplar Grove and Freedom Middle School. The City of Franklin will shoulder the costs of the plan’s preparation, with both sharing the cost of potential implementation.

Franklin Parks Director Lisa Clayton said she could see the benefit to the partnership given the proximity of the FSSD’s campuses to Jim Warren Park. It would also aid with capacity, which Jim Warren currently sits full. The district also uses the parks already for athletics.

Because of their proximity, there’s a natural connection and there’s a significant amount of opportunity in terms of land and potential for additional opportunities,” City Administrator Eric Stuckey said.

Clayton said she and FSSD superintendent started having the discussions when the city revamped its Master Parks Plan. The plan is more than 200-pages, which details what the city needs to assess in order to accommodate the estimated almost 90,000 people who could live in Franklin by 2024.

“I do think it’s interesting because three schools serve three different brackets of ages,” At-Large Alderman Brandy Blanton said. “But I think about the capacity from a pleasure of not necessarily athletic facilities like at Liberty Elementary. With the track in front of Liberty, you see people utilize it all the time.”

The Board of Mayor and Alderman has not yet voted on the issue.

Emily West covers Franklin, education, and the state legislature for the Franklin Home Page. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter via @emwest22.