The year 2016 will become one of the biggest yet for Franklin’s Charge and the Battle of Franklin Trust, who officially received almost $1.3 million for Carter Hill Battlefield Park before 2015 drew to a close.
The American Battlefield Protection Program promised the grant money back in the summer for the Reid Lovell property that currently houses the Franklin Flower and Gift Gallery and the former Williamson County Court Appointed Service Advocates (CASA) house. The cost of the property is $2.8 million in total.
The nonprofit groups anticipated that dollar amount would come by August or sometime by mid-fall. While not when expected, nonprofit co-founder Julian Bibb said he’s excited the group made it one step closer to their goal. Part of the stipulations of the agreement meant matching the funding.
The Battlefield Protection Program acts as a federal agency under the National Park Service that assists with preserving battlefield properties. It also helps with the planning of historic preservation and interpretation of the land.
It aims to keep these lands intact and create an interpretive park for the future residents who live near battlefields and for visitors to the area.
“It took a long time to work through all of those things,” Bibb said. “But everyone at the Civil War Trust did a great job of pushing it and getting it done. We copiloted the agreements last week, but it was a huge amount of work to get to that stage. I hope in a month we are celebrating we got it all done.”
The next step means going before the Board of Mayor and Alderman regarding the transcation, which remains one of the last pieces to the Carter Hill Battlefield Park puzzle. In an agreement already worked out, the park will eventually become deeded to the city and maintained by the Parks Department.
The city will hear it in a work session first at the end January before it moves on to a vote in February. If the city comes to an agreement, the groups can figure out what to do with both of the 1920s houses that sit on the property. Bibb said they have one individual seriously considering moving the CASA house, and will actively seek other interested parties for the flower shop.
“The houses will be available for people that want to move them,” Bibb said. “Obviously we have to be able to buy the property before anyone can move it. But there is word of mouth going around the flower shop, but we haven’t had someone show that same interest as they have for the CASA house. But we will go through a more formal marketing of that if need be.”
The purpose of Carter Hill Battlefield Park consists of a preservation effort by Franklin’s Charge, the Battle of Franklin Trust, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and the Civil War Trust. Preservationists hope to interpret the site’s cultural importance both before and after the Civil War, especially the cotton gin, which was one of the most recognized landmarks on the battlefield.
Soldiers for both the Union and the Confederacy fought in the Battle of Franklin on that land. Thousands of men died in the bloody carnage with thousands of men wounded.
“Things are percolating,” Bibb said. “We got through some of the bigger hurdles but we got a ways to go.”