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Commitment to seniors builds foundation for Fountains of Franklin

Ricki Keckley, Community Relations Director and co-owner of Fountains of Franklin, has seen her vision fulfilled with the opening of the facility.   Photos by Kerri Bartlett


“It’s been called a mini Opryland, a plantation home and compared to a dining room on a cruise ship,” said Ricki Keckley, community relations director and co-owner of Fountains of Franklin.
“You couldn’t find a better place if you searched the world over,” said 84-year-old resident Betty Harris.
White columns, wide porches, plantation shutters, a dramatic upper level veranda and warm, stylish décor characterize Fountains of Franklin. 
The 77,000 square foot two-story facility, which sits on 15-acres— previously a farm owned by Leo and Fannie Mae Lynch— provides just enough space to create a homey atmosphere without an overwhelming feel. 
“The facility has filled up much faster than anticipated, which is a good problem to have,” Keckley said. 
Harris said that every time she talks to her family, three children and about a half dozen grandchildren, she raves about her new home. 
“My family says that I’m going overboard. But I can’t help it, that’s just the way that I feel,” Harris said.
Fountains of Franklin, a senior assisted-living facility, opened its doors six months ago to about 62 senior citizens in Franklin. Since then, seniors have been settling in to their new homes and bonding with new-found friends at the facility where they can relax, exercise, play Bocci ball, put on a green, create crafts or get their hair done at an in-house salon—and the list goes on. 
Harris highlights the activities she will attend for the entire month on a calendar posted on her refrigerator, right beside the watercolor paintings she created in an art class.
She exercises for 30 minutes twice a day in the exercise room and also takes an exercise class in the morning inside the facility, just one of the many offerings planned by Activities Director Brenda Rummell.
Fountains of Franklin resident Betty Harris says she couldn’t think of a better place to live. She exercises and attends an activity everyday. 
Hallways are strategically constructed to provide a limited amount of walking space for seniors, and common areas are easily accessible on the upper and lower levels, including the dedicated Ed Moody Community Room dining room.
Created to memorialize one of the county’s beloved businessmen, the room can be used for to hold family gatherings, play games, watch TV and dine. 
Almost like a museum, hundreds of local historical photos were collected from Historian Rick Warwick, who works with the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, and from the Williamson County Archives. The photographs and plaques line the walls of Fountains creating a walking history lesson of Franklin and Williamson County.
Ever present and energetic, Keckley, along with a staff of 15 resident assistants, nurses and administrative staff, walks miles through the corridors each day checking on residents. The hotel-like interiors are designed to be elegant yet cozy.
The facility provides services to residents ranging in age from 59 to 97 years old, including 24-hour personal care by in-house nurses and resident assistants, medication assistance, transportation for outings, fine dining with three meals daily and 24-hour emergency-call service. 
However, that’s only the beginning for Fountains of Franklin. 
Although Phase 1, consisting of 59 apartments between 676 and 1,140 square-feet, was completed in June, Phase 2 is projected to begin this spring.
This will include the construction of a Memory Care Wing. Phase 3, consisting of about 30 standalone cottages for independent seniors, is projected to begin next fall. 
Keckleys build foundation of passion and purpose
Ricki Keckley, community relations director and the low-profile co-owner of Fountains of Franklin, feels as if she has finally “stepped through the door” to see the fulfillment of a dream that she and her husband Gary, an architect, have shared for six years.
The couple started their business GoodWorks Unlimited, LLC in 2000, an assisted living construction business, with the purpose of helping their elders live comfortably in later life.
“We have always wanted to build a facility in Franklin,” Keckley said. “It’s a dream come true.”
The Keckley’s have purchased and constructed about 22 senior facilities in Tennessee and Kentucky through GoodWorks since it’s commencement. GoodWorks has been engaged in the planning, development, design, construction, management and/or operation of the senior communities.
Betty Johnson, Johnnie Skipper and Janice Cox and decorate ornaments during an arts and crafts activity at Fountains of Franklin.
Residents of Franklin for about 30 years, the Keckleys also knew that the Franklin community would require a unique concept. “Franklin is a unique market and standards are high,” Keckley said. “We wanted to give the community the best that we could.”
After a market analysis of the area, Keckley determined that in the past ten years the senior population has been growing due to retirees moving to the area to be closer to grandchildren and retirees seeking out Williamson County as a pleasant place to live after retirement. 
According to reports, seniors make up about ten percent of the current population of about 193,000 residents in Williamson County.
“We were so excited. We couldn’t wait for the doors to open,” Keckley said. However, she added that she and her husband weren’t sure how the community would respond to their unique niche for seniors. 
“It was taking a really big risk. Sometimes you walk through a door, and you don’t know what’s on the other side. We jumped into the deep end, and we survived.
“It was like giving birth to a 77,000-square-foot baby,” Keckley said.
However, the public responded with great anticipation, embraced the community and community leaders have shown their support along the way. 
During the grand opening celebration in July, over 300 guests attended, including elected government officials and community leaders. 
Construction of the facility cost about $8 million and was privately funded and financed by Pinnacle Bank and USDA loans. 
Keckley said that reality struck when the residents began moving in and calling their new place “home” in June. 
“It was the fulfillment of a dream. It was a deeply satisfying moment,” she said. “Now, we are like one big extended family.
“I’ve always loved being around older adults so much. To me it’s a ministry, not just a job,” she said. 
“They have so much life experience. What’s better than going to someone with so much wisdom for advice on life events? When you’ve lived 80 years or more, you have to be a strong person and have a good sense of humor with much wisdom to offer others.” 
Keckley lives by her passion of helping the elderly and believes that through following one’s passion, success and satisfaction will follow.
“I believe that three things bring fulfillment in life,” Keckley said.  “Passion, purpose and peace.
“First you have to follow your passion, then find a purpose for that passion. If you do those things, you will find peace.”
“For me it is a real blessing that my purpose has brought me to this point.”

Posted on: 12/20/2013


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