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Friends of Franklin Parks: Transforming Parks and Building Community

Friends of Franklin Parks: Transforming Parks and Building Community

According to a recent survey by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Americans deeply value their public parks and recreation services, with 75% of the population utilizing these spaces in their daily lives. This underscores the critical role of organizations like Friends of Franklin Parks, which has been an advocate for Franklin’s green spaces since 2011. Working in partnership with the City of Franklin, this non-profit helps maintain the city’s extensive 18-park system. However, their impact extends beyond mere maintenance; they play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between community needs and government services. By doing so, Friends of Franklin Parks ensures that these areas are not only aesthetically pleasing and historically preserved but also environmentally sustainable.

To fulfill their mission, Friends of Franklin Parks actively engages the community through educational programs and special events. Read on to discover more about their impactful work and explore how you can get involved with preserving and enhancing Franklin’s parks.

Friends of Franklin Hayes House

Inclusive Spaces and Historical Preservation: Friends of Franklin Parks Projects

Friends of Franklin Parks goes beyond simply maintaining green spaces. They’re dedicated to creating a vibrant network of parks that caters to everyone. From inclusive playgrounds to historically significant restorations like the Tractor Supply Co. Arena at Harlinsdale Farm, their current projects showcase their commitment to enhancing recreational opportunities, preserving local heritage, and fostering a sense of community.

Ellie G’s Dream World

Friends of Franklin Parks’ current projects include developing Franklin’s first inclusive playground at the Southeast Municipal Complex, named in memory of Elliot Grace Castro. This playground, designed to welcome children of all abilities, is part of a larger plan that also features sports fields and walking trails. The development is set to progress in two phases, enhancing the community’s access to outdoor recreation and inclusive play areas. 

Historic Main Barn at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm

The Historic Main Barn project focuses on renovating a prominent barn located at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee. This initiative is part of a broader effort to preserve and revitalize the farm, which has historical significance in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, having been a major breeding operation from the 1940s until the early 2000s. The project has garnered significant community support, with Friends of Franklin Parks having committed $300,000 towards the restoration and nearly achieving this fundraising goal. This restoration is not just about preserving a building but is seen as a pivotal part of maintaining the cultural heritage of the area, offering a window into the past while providing a functional space for community use. 

Hayes House Restoration Project

The Hayes House restoration project aims to revive a historic Victorian farmhouse at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee. This initiative has successfully raised approximately $750,000 for renovations, encouraging community involvement by selling square footage for $200 each. Once renovated, the Hayes House will serve various functions including offering educational programs about the farm’s history, hosting special events, displaying fine art, and providing office space for park support. This project represents a collective effort to preserve and utilize a significant piece of local heritage.

Pinkerton Park Project

The Pinkerton Park Project, led by the Leadership Franklin Class of 2017-2018 and supported by Friends of Franklin Parks, focuses on enhancing the park’s pavilion at Tinkerbell. This initiative includes upgrades like ADA-compliant access, a charging station for electronics, a concrete ping pong table, shade sails, and benches. 

If you are interested in supporting these endeavors, there are numerous ways to get involved, from donations to sponsorship opportunities. For more details on how you can contribute to these community projects, visit Friends of Franklin Parks.

A crowd watching a 4th of July fireworks show in Franklin, Tennessee!

Celebrating and Supporting: Friends of Franklin Parks Events

As a grassroots, not-for-profit organization, Friends of Franklin Parks depends on community support to achieve its goals and continue its vital work in enhancing and preserving Franklin’s green spaces. Through a variety of events, the organization offers the chance to connect with nature while actively supporting the preservation and enhancement of local parks and trails. These events not only celebrate the community spirit of Franklin but also raise crucial funds for ongoing projects and improvements. 

4th of July Fireworks Celebration

In conjunction with the City of Franklin and City of Franklin Parks Department, Friends of Franklin Parks hosts this beloved annual event at The Tractor Supply Co. Arena at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm. Featuring an evening of music, food trucks, kids activities, and a dazzling fireworks display, it’s a perfect way to celebrate the community and enjoy the summer festivities. 

Raise the Roofs

Raise the Roofs is Friends of Franklin Parks’ annual fundraiser. This year’s event celebrates the 20th anniversary of the City of Franklin’s acquisition of The Park at Harlinsdale. The event features a twilight polo match on Friday, August 16th followed by the main attraction on Saturday, August 17th where guests will enjoy food, drinks, live music, and an after-party.

Dinner on the Bridge at Harlinsdale

Friends of Franklin Parks will hold their inaugural Dinner on the Bridge on October 15, 2024, celebrating the long-awaited connection between The Park at Harlinsdale Farm and Bicentennial Park through Chestnut Bend. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Fund for the Preservation of Open Spaces. The event also honors Julian Bibb for his longstanding commitment to Franklin’s park system.

Attending these events not only allows participants to enjoy Franklin’s beautiful parks and trails but also contributes to their preservation and enhancement. For a complete list of upcoming events and more information, visit the Friends of Franklin Parks event page.

Friends of Franklin Parks Volunteers

Become a Part of the Legacy: Ways to Get Involved with Friends of Franklin Parks

Friends of Franklin Parks thrives on community support. Whether your passion lies in giving back through financial contributions, lending a helping hand, or simply staying connected, there are numerous ways to get involved and champion Franklin’s green spaces. 


Friends of Franklin Parks offers diverse sponsorship opportunities aimed at supporting their mission. Sponsors can gain high visibility at events, VIP experiences, and other perks. Events like the annual Raise the Roofs and the 4th of July Celebration offer unique sponsorship packages. Learn more about making an impact through sponsorship here.


Volunteering with Friends of Franklin Parks offers an opportunity to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of Franklin’s parks and trails. The organization hosts various events such as cleanup days, festivals, and educational programs, where volunteers can engage in activities like invasive vine removal and community engagement events. For those interested in volunteering, more details can be found on their volunteer page.


As a nonprofit, their efforts rely heavily on community financial support and donations directly fund the organization’s various projects and initiatives.  To make a monetary contribution, visit their donation page.

Community Engagement

Stay connected and informed by engaging with the organization through social media. Follow their updates, join in on discussions, and be a part of their community events. For ongoing updates and involvement opportunities, visit their website.

Hayes House Barn Friends of Franklin Parks

Shaping Tomorrow’s Green Spaces with Friends of Franklin Parks

Friends of Franklin Parks is dedicated to the continuous improvement and connectivity of Franklin’s parks. Their future plans include not only improving existing parks but also expanding trail systems to better integrate green spaces into the everyday lives of Franklin residents. The continued support of the public is essential and the organization encourages residents to get involved to ensure that Franklin’s parks are preserved and enhanced as a legacy for future generations.