Franklin resident Alan Simms says there's a lot to love about Franklin.
His motivation in running for the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA), Simms said, is to preserve all he feels is great about the city, while at the same time bringing his project manager and interpersonal skills to Franklin's leadership team.
Having moved to Tennessee in 2014, Simms now calls Franklin his forever home, and works as a project manager for QuickQ LLC, a Franklin-based financial services company.
Simms' experience in project management goes back to at least 2010 when he worked as an IT project manager for Academy Sports, followed by a position as an IT project manager for Davita Kidney Care from 2014-17.
"I bet I could help here"
While Simms had never run for any political office before, he became immediately interested in the BOMA and its inner workings shortly after moving to Franklin.
"When we came here, I really wanted to be involved in the city, so as soon as we got here, I started going to the BOMA meetings; listening and getting to know people," Simms said. "I really enjoyed it and I thought I bet I could help here."
When asked if there were any pressing issues that motivated him to run for office, Simms said there weren't initially, but that more recently he's had concerns over the city' Envision Franklin, a design document that outlines the city's long-term version in terms of future development.
"I don't have an agenda, I'm not coming to do this [or that] necessarily, but over the last couple months I have started to get a little more concerned about the the development and overriding Envision Franklin [document]," Simms said.
In regards to Envision Franklin, Simms said he would like its application to be "a little more thoughtful," noting that despite specific development suggestions in the plan, exceptions are regularly made for developers.
Beyond Envision Franklin, Simms said that he felt the most pressing issue for the city was growth, and with that, maintaining adequate infrastructure to support it.
"We have plans [for infrastructure], I [just] think we need to consolidate some plans; we need to talk to the county and the state and make sure the schools and the roads, our infrastructure and our development are coming together, that we have a good plan," Simms said.
"That's probably the biggest issue that I've heard the most about, and then the big one in my opinion that's part of that is preservation."
Regarding preservation, Simms said he would prioritize keeping Franklin's identity intact; both its rural character and bustling downtown.
"We don't want to lose what's made Franklin so special; people are coming here for a reason, and nothing against Nashville, but if we just build, build, build and it looks like Nashville, will then what?" Simms said.
"They'll just keep going further south, so and that's what I mean about thoughtful and diligent growth. We just need to think things through because the decisions we make right now are gonna affect us for a long time."
Another item on Simms agenda, he said, would be improving the city's amenities, specifically by supporting more connectivity throughout the city.
"I think we can always have more interconnectivity... I would love to be able to walk from Carter to Carnton," Simms said.
"Then obviously when the sidewalk gets finished from downtown to the Factory, I think that's gonna be great. And I'm sure there's some connectivity in other neighborhoods that may need to be improved as well."
When it came to supporting affordable housing initiatives, Simms said he would approach it on more of a case-by-case basis.
"Obviously, we want people to be able to live here and we want the people that work here to be able to live here, [but] I don't think we want to relax any of our building standards - we do have very high standards is my understanding, and that obviously adds to the cost," Simms said.
"We do have an obligation to make sure we're using the taxpayers money wisely, and so I think if it if something comes up and it looks good, and it's a good impact for all involved, why not."
Most importantly perhaps, Simms believe his over a decade's worth of project managerial experience would make implementing his goals of smart growth and preservation more attainable.
"As a project manager, you are the leader of the project, and I think that I have developed that type of personality where I can build consistency just by talking to people making sure everybody's heard - that's important," Simms said.
"My way to build consensus within my projects is to make sure everybody understands what we're doing, why we're doing it, and then and say do you do you agree? Yes, great," Simms said.
"Do you not agree? Okay, well let's talk about that. So I think it involves a lot of just interpersonal relationships. You just kind of talk to people, and then listen."
The upcoming Franklin election will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 26, with early voting going on now through Oct. 21. Click here to see if you're registered to vote, and click here for more information on the Franklin 2021 election.