PHOTO: Friends of Franklin Parks Executive Director Torrey Barnhill and Franklin Synergy Bank Chairman Richard Herrington.//SUBMITTED
Franklin Synergy Bank has renewed a three-year sponsorship with the non-profit Friends of Franklin Parks supporting the Tractor Supply Co. Arena at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm. The Arena, built and operated through a public-private partnership between the City of Franklin and Friends of Franklin Parks, opened for community events in 2016.
Franklin Synergy Bank was among the first corporate sponsors to lend financial support to the Arena as funds were being raised for construction. The $1.6 million facility, which includes restrooms, a concession stand, a warm-up ring and a scoring tower in addition to the multi-purpose equestrian arena, has been used for horse shows, arena polo and various public events, such as Franklin on the Fourth and the Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival.
“We chose to support Friends of Franklin Parks and the Tractor Supply Co. Arena for several reasons. First, we wanted to honor the Harlin family, as Bill Harlin was a founding Director of the Bank in 2007, and his son Wirt was instrumental in raising capital to start the Bank,” said Franklin Synergy Bank Chairman Richard Herrington. “Second, we saw it as a way to enhance the quality of life in our community through this special place that means so much to our history and heritage. Finally, we wanted our bank to be a part of something unique that would give back to our community.”
Herrington said the Arena – as a facility that helps draw people from all over to visit Harlinsdale – helps showcase Franklin’s balance of economic growth, historic preservation and strong family values that make it a great place to live.
“We have such an outstanding quality of life here, and organizations like Friends of Franklin Parks focus on preserving that unique blend and remind us that family is an important part of our everyday lives,” he said.
Torrey Barnhill, Executive Director of Friends of Franklin Parks, said the organization expects to continue attracting events that bring the public together, celebrating the legacy of the property as a historic horse farm while offering opportunities for education and family entertainment.
“This Arena has not only brought the horses back to Harlinsdale with multi-discipline equestrian shows, but it’s also given children a chance to interact with horses for the first time, spawned an inter-scholastic arena polo program, and hosted thousands of people from around the world for major events,” Barnhill said. “None of that would have been possible without the support of Franklin Synergy Bank.”
Founded in 1937, the 200-acre Harlinsdale Farm was a nationally recognized breeding operation for more than 75 years before it was acquired by the City of Franklin, placed under a permanent conservation easement and opened as a passive park. A long-range plan to bring horses back to the historic farm was advanced with the establishment of Friends of Franklin Parks in 2011, a public-private partnership designed to leverage corporate and individual support to enhance and grow public spaces around Franklin.
For more information on Friends of Franklin Parks, the Tractor Supply Co. Arena, sponsorship opportunities and upcoming events, please visit www.friendsoffranklinparks.org.