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Save the Franklin Theatre

Save the Franklin Theatre

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and Hastings Architecture Associates, LLC will be holding community meetings this month to gain input from those interested in the rehabilitation of the Franklin Theatre.

The Heritage Foundation’s Save the Franklin Theatre Steering Committee invites those with interest or expertise in music, film, entertainment, lighting, sound, event planning and catering specialist to attend the community meetings at City Hall to capture their expertise and ideas. Also needed are people who are potential users or audiences – teens, kids, moms, dads, grands and greats are invited to come share your ideas and dreams for the Franklin Theatre. All downtown residents, business owners, and property owners are encouraged to attend any meetings.

We are hoping that ideas can be gleaned from Franklin and Williamson County’s  performers, music industry, songwriters, and specialists in all areas of performing arts and film. According to David Garrett, president of the Heritage Foundation,

“We want all interested citizens to share their thoughts and ideas so that the Franklin Theatre project can embrace community input to make the Franklin Theatre the best it can be.”

This is the second round of meetings held to plan for the preservation of the Franklin Theatre. The first community meetings began in February 2007 and were conducted by Paul Siembroski with Westlake Reed Leskosky out of Cleveland, Ohio. The purpose of the 2007 meetings was to determine the future of the historic Franklin Theatre. Input from these meetings determined that the historic theatre building could be restored to a multiuse entertainment facility for films, live performances and events and identified the need to get the ownership of the theatre in friendly hands. Tax incentives and design features needed for live entertainment and film were also among the topics. The Heritage Foundation purchased the theatre in October 2007.

Four (4) focus meetings are scheduled at the Franklin City Hall Boardroom. Each community meeting will have a particular focus but everyone is invited to attend any meetings. Meeting times have been scheduled to accommodate all.

1) IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STAGE – The lighting, sound, seating, screen projection and design!  Wednesday, July 23 rd – 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 29 th – 10:0011:30 a.m.

We need event and catering professionals, bar and food service to weigh in at this meeting. The most asked question is “will I still be able to drink a beer and watch a movie”. Another question being asked is “can I get married at the Franklin Theatre”.

Tuesday, July 29 th – 1:30- 3:00 p.m.

How can your company or business can help with inkind contributions. This is a special invitation for companies like Dovetail Design Works, Lee Company, ADS

Security and others who have expressed an interest in donating needed in kind services.

Wednesday, July 30 th – 5:00 -6:30 p.m.

Come help the architects and the Save the Franklin Theatre Steering Committee determine what type of programs and films you would like to see at the Franklin

Theatre. For example, do you want to have a “Cry Babies Matinee” for the preschool group or bring back the late night “Rocky Horror Picture Show”?

Chuck Gannaway, with Hastings Architecture Associates, says “the most important goal of these meetings is to receive ideas from the community for the Franklin Theatre to give our architectural team direction”. A study done by the City of Franklin identified the need for a 400seat multiuse entertainment venue. The Heritage Foundation wants everyone in our community to have an opportunity to be involved so that the Franklin Theatre can be appreciated and used by the entire community.  Fundraising for the project is ongoing and Mary Pearce exclaims

“We are excited to have reached half of our financial goal with lead gifts of $2 million from Emily Magid and $1 million from the Cal Turner Family Foundation. Another $500,000 has been raised from various donors and grants. It will take all of us in this community to reach our total goal of $7 million. The next three and half million will come from everyone reaching into their pockets and contributing, large, small or in kind, toward the goal of saving this beloved landmark.”

No reservations are required for the meetings but anyone who has questions about the meetings can call Damon Rogers at 591-8500, ext 11 or Mary Pearce at ext 15. Anyone interested in contributing financially to the project should contact the above ladies or make a donation at