How We Got Started

In early 2000, a small group of leaders recognized that something needed to be done to ensure that Franklin’s future would be as rich-in meaning and spirit, as well as in buildings and businesses-as its past. Its essential attributes, those qualities that are at the heart of its attraction, would need to be ensured through a broad-based strategic effort. This group of leaders organized themselves into the Board of Directors of Franklin Tomorrow. The Board members clearly viewed their mission as facilitators and enablers of a process intended to ensure that anyone who lived, worked, or played in Franklin was provided the opportunity help shape its future.

The process as conceived by the original Board of Directors included several major activities. These activities are highlighted below, but it is important to note that the citizen-based Steering Committee met regularly through this 12-month process.

Franklin Tomorrow, Inc. – In 2000 a group of community leaders organized Franklin Tomorrow, Inc. for the purpose of initiating and implementing a broad-based, community-driven vision.

Steering Committee – To lead the visioning process, the Board of Franklin Tomorrow, Inc. selected 50 members of the community to guide the visioning process. In addition to addressing the substance of a wide range of community issues, the Steering Committee organized the outreach, publicity, logistics and volunteer recruitment efforts. Their commitment was essential to the success of the following activities.

Brainstorming – In April 2001 seven public Idea Gathering Meetings were held throughout the community. All citizens and interested parties were invited to attend. In these meetings participants worked in small groups with trained, volunteer facilitators. Participants provided nearly 1,200 ideas that addressed all aspects of the community. These ideas were organized based on the following topics. In addition, participants told us about what they treasured most about their community. They offered several hundred treasures.

Topic # Ideas Topic # Ideas Business 100 Government 178 Community Character 106 Growth & Development 296 Education 127 People 159 Environment 148 Recreation 191 Housing 63 Transportation 195

Goal setting – In May 2001 a Community Summit was held. At the Summit, nearly 150 participants developed goals for the 10 topics listed above. They also learned about key trends impacting the community: population, land use, housing, transportation, etc. They also participated in a Building Block exercise that specifically focused on the character of growth and development in Franklin. In this exercise, participants evaluated 24 images that were selected based on the ideas generated at the six Idea Gathering Meetings. During the Building Block exercise, the images were presented and described. Participants scored them on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 representing a very appropriate condition for Franklin and 1 representing a condition deemed inappropriate for Franklin. From the Building Block exercise a series of principle statements were developed to reflect the strong preferences for the character of growth and development.

Vision Fair – In July 2001 the Vision Fair was conducted over a two-day period. On a Friday evening, the Vision Fair was conducted at the Factory. On Saturday, the presentation took place on the Square during the Jaguar Festival. The displays included the recommendations based on the eight community meetings, both brainstorming and goal setting. The recommendations were presented in the form of 10 goals and 66 supporting strategies. In addition, an overall vision statement was developed to capture the essence of these goals and strategies. Over the two days, nearly 400 residents participated in the Fair and expressed their preferences for strategies and their interest in participating in the solution.

Strategy Workshop – In November 2001, fifty Franklin area residents volunteered to participate for one-half day to work with the results of the Vision Fair. Participants were assigned to one of the ten goal topics based on their familiarity with the topic. They then reviewed all supporting strategies. They made recommendations on refining strategies and provided a wealth of implementation insight on them. They also recommended a priority strategy for their topic. With these activities and this report, the Board of Directors of Franklin Tomorrow have a “blue print” for shaping Franklin’s future. They will turn talk into action with the continued support and involvement of Franklin citizens.

Implementation – In June 2002, Franklin Tomorrow officially began the implementation process. An Executive Director was hired and an action plan put in place. The ten strategic priority areas were reviewed and the first Task Force areas were identified. Citizen Task Forces in business, education, environment, housing, and recreation were formed and began addressing community issues.

In 2005, Franklin Tomorrow initiated a process to review its original goals and strategies, assess the implementation effort to date, identify priority strategies, collect public input, and develop a plan of action. Three critical activities comprised the effort: Strategy Roundtables, Vision Fair, and Board of Directors Workshop. At the Strategy Roundtables, community leaders assessed implementation efforts to date and proposed new strategies. The Vision Fair provided the public with the opportunity to review the existing strategies and give additional ideas. The Board of Directors used the feedback from these efforts and laid out the following revised Goals and Strategies for 2006 and beyond.

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