Volunteer award winner Devona Baugh, left, with Hard Bargain Association Volunteer Coordinator Ashley Pope.//Brooke Wanser
By BROOKE WANSER
A roomful of folks gathered on Wednesday night inside the Williamson County Enrichment Center for the Hard Bargain Association’s annual celebration dinner and fundraiser.
“Hard Bargain is the golden thread in the tapestry of Franklin,” Hard Bargain Association Executive Director Brant Bousquet said.
The Hard Bargain neighborhood, around 130 homes on two square blocks near downtown Franklin, was created in the late 1800s after freed slave Harvey McLemore purchased the land from his former master.
McLemore subdivided the tracts and sold them to other freed slaves, who passed down the homes and land from generation to generation.
The association, founded officially as a nonprofit in 2005, builds new homes and sells them below market value to low- and moderate-income families. The organization also provides volunteers to assist on home rehabilitation projects, and a community center that offers a variety of classes and programs for Hard Bargain residents.
During the event, which included a silent auction and catered dinner, volunteer awards were presented to Betsy Van Jura, who led Battle Ground Academy students in their community service partnership with the association, and Devona Baugh.
“It truly does take a village,” Bousquet said. “In Hard Bargain, it’s really true.”
Several local politicians showed their support by attending, including Ward 3 Alderman Scott Speedy and at-large Alderman Pearl Bransford, District 65 Rep. Sam Whitson, and District 10 Commissioners David Landrum and Robbie Beal, who are both running for re-election.