Franklin is a special community. It has a rich cultural history of national significance and was founded and has prospered in a gentle and beautiful landscape. Residents — whether born and raised in the community or recent arrivals-care deeply about the place they call home: Franklin, Tennessee.
With few exceptions residents believe that Franklin offers a high quality of life and they rate this aspect as the most important factor affecting their decision to live in the community. In fact, a 2012 household survey conducted for Franklin Tomorrow in conjunction with the Williamson County Association of Realtors indicated 9 of 10 residents surveyed ranked their quality of life as good or excellent.
Franklin has gained national recognition for its revitalization of downtown and for devising impact fee strategies for new development. Franklin is clearly a prosperous community with dedicated and passionate stewards.
It is easy to say that Franklin — with its prosperity, unique history and sense of community — would be the envy of communities across the nation. So what is the problem? What are the issues that drove the need for a vision for Franklin?
There is no simple answer except that there is an evolving recognition on the part of its citizens, local government, business and preservation groups that safeguarding the attributes that make Franklin so special will take deliberate action and special attention in the face of the continuing pressure for growth and development.
It is important to note that for most of its history, Franklin grew moderately, if at all. In fact, from the end of the Civil War to until the 1960s the community experienced no significant growth. That easygoing, minimal-change condition began to change in the mid 1960′s and erupted in the 1980s and continues today. Franklin’s population doubled in the 1990s, reaching nearly 42,000 in 2000. The 2010 Census put the population at more than 60,000 and it is expected to double again over the next 20 years to 78,000.
In addition to residential growth, Franklin has attracted a significant amount of commercial and industrial employers, including many headquarters or regional offices. Numerous factors have fueled Franklin’s growth. The most compelling appears to be the charm and historic small town character offered by Franklin as one of America’s quintessential small towns.
This factor, in light of the recent growth, has fueled much of the passion throughout the vision process. Franklin residents care deeply about their community. At the very first round of public meetings participants were asked to identify what they treasure most about the Franklin community. In overwhelming terms, the most significant community value is Franklin’s historic small town character.