One month after the Williamson County Board of Commissioners approved a lease-agreement on a piece of property for FrankTown Open Hearts, officials with the organization gathered Wednesday afternoon with board members, nonprofit partners and others to hold a campaign kickoff of sorts for what will eventually become a new building.

At its September meeting, the county commission voted in favor to lease the county-owned property at $1 a year for 20 years to FrankTown Open Hearts, a ministry in Franklin that spiritually, emotionally and physically enhances the lives of at-risk youth through mentoring and equipping them with life skills, and offering spiritual development and academic tutoring services.

Located on Granbury Street at the intersection with Academy Street and near the Williamson County Public Library, the property is currently vacant greenspace with dimensions similar to a football field. A date for groundbreaking will be determined later.

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Chris Barnhill

“You’re going to be hearing a lot in the next several months and kicking off the new year, because we’re going to have a campaign to raise money to build on this,” FrankTown Executive Director Chris Barnhill told attendees.

He and others came to the lot about 15 years ago and prayed that the space could become home for FrankTown, which really doesn’t have a proper home base.

“Nothing really happened then, so we thought God’s answer was ‘No,’” Barnhill said. “But as it turned out, the answer was ‘Not yet.’ And now, 15 years later, here we are.”

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Students from FrankTalks Open Hearts perform a dance routine.

FrankTown Open Hearts was founded in 2005, and today it is involved in the lives of more than 150 young men and women from Franklin’s at-risk neighborhoods. The completion of a building that Barnhill envisions as a 12,000-sqare-foot facility with ample space for the nonprofit’s various programs will have a lasting impact.

“God has given us this land,” Barnhill said. “There is no other explanation for this. This is the perfect location, it’s the right price. … We are going to shoot for the stars, and we are going to build a building that’s going to serve these underserved children and community and families for many, many years.

“We just ask for the many months ahead to continue praying for this venture we are entering into. We don’t exactly know how it’s going to work, but that’s kind of the fun. We’re going to sit back and watch God work.”

Click here to learn more about FrankTown Open Hearts.