Franklin won’t be getting an ice hockey rink yet — at least, not on the originally proposed property.
Warhorse Venture Partners, a local investment and development company, has been pursuing placing its Franklin Sports Complex project, which is slated to include an ice rink, multi-sport complex and an entertainment plaza, on property just up the road from the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center in southeast Franklin. However, the undeveloped property was zoned for single-family residential use and was surrounded on two sides by homes in the Ladd Park subdivision.
At a Franklin Planning Commission meeting last week, the developers sought an amendment to Envision Franklin, the city’s land use plan, to shift the parcel to recreational use. However, after three hours of public comment at the meeting, most of which was against the development, the commission denied the request despite staff’s recommendation to approve.
Eric Kaehr, founder of Warhorse Venture Partners, and Greg Gamble, a development partner, presented the project to the commission, sharing the adjustments the team has made to accommodate public concern, such as implementing buffers and other features to reduce or eliminate noise and light pollution into the surrounding residential area.
Kaehr noted despite the large number of public speakers against the project, he has collected over 175 signatures from Williamson County residents, including some in Ladd Park, that approved of the complex and its location.
“I know the phone calls tonight may seem otherwise, but there’s a massive amount of support and need in Williamson County and Franklin that will create almost $8 million of economic impact,” Kaehr said.
Many of the speakers in opposition of the development voiced concerns about alcohol sales on the premises, increased traffic and car accidents, and an overall reduction of the quality of life for Ladd Park residents.
Without discussion, the commission voted 6-0-3 to deny the request to amend Envision Franklin. Mike Hathaway abstained from the vote, while Jimmy Franks and Jennifer Szilagyi were absent.
The developers plan to look for a new location for the Franklin Sports Complex.
To learn more about the project, visit FranklinSportsComplex.com.