Franklin board votes to memorialize Rep. Sargent with Mack Hatcher bridge naming

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Charles Sargent

Rep. Charles Sargent was a 22-year Franklin legislator in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He looks at the portraits of past House representatives hung in a hallway of the Cordell Hull State Office Building in Nashville. File (2018)

Franklin’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously Tuesday to name a new half-mile bridge after one of the region’s most dedicated public servants.

At-large Alderman Brandy Blanton proposed naming the bridge after her former mentor, Rep. Charles Sargent. 

The extension of Mack Hatcher Parkway is on track to be completed by November of 2021, adding a total of 7.5 miles to the currently existing road as part of the $45.1 million TDOT project. 

The Charles M. Sargent Jr. Memorial Bridge will be a key component of the project, crossing the Harpeth River twice in what had long been Sargent’s home and district. 

Sargent, who passed away last November after a battle with cancer, represented Franklin in the Tennessee State Legislature for over 20 years. He got his start in the community by founding the Grassland Athletic Association along with friend Rogers Anderson, now the Williamson County mayor. He also served as a county commissioner for the area before his election to the state House. 

Blanton said God put the idea in her heart as a way to honor the man who devoted his life to the county.

“That was the last road project he got approved in his district,” she said of the Mack Hatcher extension. 

Bridges are typically named after veterans, which Sargent is: his wife, Nancy, said he served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.

Franklin City Manager Eric Stuckey said the process to name the bridge will be two-fold: the county must also pass a similar resolution. Blanton said Commissioners Chas Morton and Matt Williams of District 9 will prepare a resolution to present to the Williamson County Commission in October. 

State Rep. Sam Whitson (R-Franklin) said he plans to carry those resolutions to the legislature as his first sponsored bill of the new session.

“To see something that grand and impressive,” Blanton said, “just like he was, live on in perpetuity, it just makes my heart smile.”

“I am blown over by the love and support she [Blanton] and Sam Whitson and the community have shown he and I,” Nancy Sargent said of the plans to honor her late husband. “He is missed completely, and it feels like he is watching over us.”

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