PHOTO: The amended park plan for the Southeast Municipal Park Complex, presented at the Franklin Board of Mayor and Alderman work session on Tuesday, March 13, 2018
By BROOKE WANSER
At Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Alderman work session, Parks Director Lisa Clayton presented three options to the board for a park proposed in the southeast of Franklin.
The lot for the venue, known as the Southeast Municipal Park Complex, is located east of Interstate 65 and west of the Harpeth River. The main entrance is slated to come from Carothers Parkway to the north.
The 180-acre park will include two playgrounds (which could be combined into one large one), a dog park, outdoor table tennis, lawn bowling, bocce court, two basketball courts, two sand volleyball courts and three pickle ball courts.
Clayton presented both designs, along with one combined design that she recommended, to the board.
The third design is an amalgamation of both. It features 11 sports fields with a reduction of one field from the first design.
It removes two fields from the flood plain area in the upper north corner of the park.
“We didn’t eliminate a certain aspect,” Clayton said.
“When you have a tournament, or you have league play, having the community come in, it’s basically you have these community elements and not having to go through the entire park,” she said of locating the fields in one central location.
As the grandmother of a special needs child, at-large Alderman Brandy Blanton said she was sad to see the inclusive playground had lost square footage to a dog park.
“An inclusive playground,” she said, in the area outside of Murfreesboro, “is hard to find.”
Another dog park exists at Harlinsdale Park, Blanton said; an inclusive playground in Franklin does not.
“I would love to see the dog park be a little smaller to accommodate the inclusive playground, in which this will be the only one that we have,” Blanton said.
“If the desire is for that to be larger, that’s not an issue,” said Clayton, noting that the details of the plan could be altered. “Our community needs this.”
High Hopes Development Center, an inclusive preschool with advanced pediatric therapies, posted an article on their website about the future playground prior to the February neighborhood meeting.
The article discusses and defines inclusive playgrounds: “In execution, an inclusive playground should have certain features to enhance every child’s play experience, regardless of age, size, mobility, or ability level,” the post reads.
“I think we will have people come from outside of Franklin, whether that’s north, south, east or west, to be able to use something like this, because it is something that’s not around,” Blanton said.
The board will vote on the design plan at the next BOMA meeting, Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m.