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Polk Place Aerial View

The following is a letter sent to Polk Place from Mrs. Sarah Dallas Holliday after the Williamson AM May article on the Polk Place Community: 

"Dear Mr. Taylor. I was interested in the article in the Williamson AM about your website for Polk Place. May I clear up mistakes in the article about Polk Place. It was my family's farm which my husband Joe Holliday Jr. and J. Franks developed. My mother Sarah Gloss Polk was given the farm Dallas Downs and Polk Place by her grandfather Fielding Gloss. Mr. Gloss bought the land from Mr. McGavoch (owner of Carnton). 

As everyone who knows their Tennessee history James Knox Polk and Sarah Childress Polk (from Murfreesboro) had no children. So my mother is not a direct descendant. They should also know Sarah was always spelled with an H at the end. The new Sara came in many years later. My mother was named for great-great grandmother Sarah Moore Polk not the President's wife. Mother's grandfather, my great-great grandfather's Confederate uniform is on display at the Carter House. We are descended from one of the President's cousins. My Mother married Hugh Douglas Dallas who was a direct descendant of George Mifflin Dallas who was Vice President when Polk was President. Mr. Dallas was from Philadelphia. Now you know why I named the subdivisions Dallas Downs and Polk Place.


Sarah Dallas Holliday (Mrs. Joseph H. Jr.)"



The following story on Polk Place appeared in the May 5, 2000 edition of The Tennessean's Williamson A.M. It is  reprinted here with their permission.

By Marilee Spanjian Staff correspondent

FRANKLIN It's not that unusual to have 10 construction companies building at the same time in a new residential community. In Williamson County, there are several locations that fit that description. But there's only one development where all 10 of the contractors currently building are related. And that alone, makes Polk Place in Franklin unique. Since 1994, several contractors who have built in Polk Place weren't related to Jay Franks. But currently, everyone is connected to this veteran developer. They are either a brother, brother-in-law, nephew or cousin. Each owns his or her own construction company and not everyone builds the same number of homes. Last year, each of the 10 contractors built anywhere from two to 14 custom homes in Polk Place. Longtime Williamson Countians will not be surprised that Jay has that many relatives in the residential construction business. After all, he is one of 12 children born to the late J.N. Franks Jr., a developer, and his wife, Jane Crockett. Of the 12 children, eight are builders or married to builders and two of the 33 grandchildren are builders, all based in Williamson County. Plus, there are cousins and nephews.

Unlike some developments that allow regional or national volume builders to purchase large blocks of lots, Jay has provided a place for local custom contractors to build. Recently the second-to-final phase opened in Polk Place with approximately 40 new lots. When completed, there will be around 350-single-family homes on (mostly) quarter-acre lots in Polk Place. Before developing Polk Place with Sara Holliday, the daughter of the late Sara Polk Dallas, Jay also developed Dallas Downs. Mrs. Dallas, a direct descendent of President James K. Polk, owned all of the land and Holliday inherited it when Dallas died. Polk Place is the 14th subdivision that Jay Franks has been involved in the development of. Nine of them have been in Williamson County, including Redwing Farms, Yorktown, and Carriage Park. The family connections have benefits, Jay says. The combined expertise of multiple family members in the residential construction business is an asset to the buyer. They draw upon each other's strengths and use their knowledge to the benefit of one another's projects, Jay says. And the disadvantages? I cannot think of any negative things about all the family  involvement in this subdivision, he adds.

Jay's brother-in-law, builder Jimmy Felker of Felker Construction, has been in the business for 21 years. He says it's still very competitive working with relatives, |but each person gets their run (of selling homes). We also sit down and talk about what to put in each house. And we do a lot of long-term planning. Sometimes, we buy the land together. It's a unique situation. We don't have a problem building next door to each other. While it's unusual for the developer and 10 builders to be related, that isn't what draws homebuyers to Polk Place.

This community is known for its all-brick construction, well-maintained yards, stocked fishing ponds and community swimming pool. It's also known for its central location. In less than five minutes, homeowners can be in downtown Franklin, on Interstate 65, in the Cool Springs area or at the grocery store. Fewer than two minutes down the road is the Franklin YMCA. Three years ago, homeowners Charlie and Bande Brown moved to Polk Place from another Franklin subdivision. We wanted to upgrade. We wanted the newer features, Charlie says. We thought you got a lot of value in Polk Place compared to tract builders. These aren't cookie-cutter-type houses. We got more hardwood, more built-ins, tiled baths, and interior columns. We also got detailed cornices on the outside. There are much richer dimensions in these homes. Most of the new homes offer solid-surface counter tops, crown molding, tilt-out insulated windows, vaulted ceilings, and four bedrooms. Some offer side-entry two and (a few three) car garages. Plus, many of the floor plans are one-story, making the homes attractive to retired homebuyers. Homeowner Penny Dirksen says her family |found our little niche at Polk Place.

After living in another subdivision in Franklin for years, she and her husband, Peter, decided to move. We wanted to stay in the same school district,| Penny adds, describing the various schools her children attend. They searched for a neighborhood where there were sidewalks, no cut-through traffic and the homes didn't have vinyl siding. 

All the neighbors are really friendly, Penny says. We get to the bus stop early with our children so that we can talk. There are a lot of walkers. And everyone is into their yards. Polk Place has an active homeowners' association (see side story). There are four women's Bunco and Keno groups, block parties twice annually, and an Octoberfest. Last year, they even held an adult golf tournament. The dues to maintain the 20 acres of open space are $15 monthly. The pool club is offered as a separate membership of $140 per family for each season.

Perhaps one of the things that makes Polk Place stand out in a county filled with new residential communities is the fact that it is being built by a strong southern family. This local family has invested time and energy to make it a great place to live for move-up, newcomers, and retired homebuyers.




FRANKLIN Three years ago, Robert Taylor and his family moved from Nashville to Polk Place. He wanted to get involved in his community. So, he volunteered to be on the homeowners' association board. After reviewing the traditional method of circulating neighborhood information through a newsletter dropped at each homeowner's door, he suggested the association set up a Web site. And to make his idea even more appealing, he also volunteered to set it up. For the past year, Polk Place has had its own Web site at, www.PolkPlace.com. It took about an hour to initially set it up, Taylor says. I've added to it a little bit at a time. Now, I update it almost weekly. That takes about 10 to 20 minutes. What makes the site so inviting is the complete community overview it gives for a new or prospective homebuyer. It also links to school sites, Realtors and the current list of new and resale homes for sale, government officials, and the City of Franklin's web site. It also provides a list of important phone numbers. For example, there is contact information for the water department, recycling, and even where to call to get a new driver's license.

Then, Taylor took it a step further by including a Bulletin Board where homeowners can leave questions or comments about everything from reminding homeowners to keep their pets on leashes to a request for someone who could do face painting at a child's birthday party. It's also a chance to air complaints or show appreciation. It can give prospective homebuyers a real insight into the neighborhood.

The association's covenants, codes and restrictions also are listed. And there is a complete list of the board members and how to contact each one. Although the association does not financially support the community pool, all of that information is available, too. Currently about 70% of the homes in the community have Internet access and e-mail any communications to the board. It's a whole lot easier than making phone calls. We also put out hard copies and distribute those on a quarterly basis to everyone, he adds. The question is, does it work? Do Polk Place homeowners' use the site to communicate? Recently, the pool committee conducted a survey. More than half of the families that responded did it by e-mail. An even better example that the site works is when Taylor received a call from a woman who posted pictures and a description of her home on the For Sale By Owner link and sold it through the site, he says.