For Immediate Release: 02/17/05
Franklin Voters Overwhelmingly Support Preservation of Battlefield
Poll reveals that three-quarters of Franklin voters support battlefield preservation
(Franklin, Tenn.) - A public opinion poll commissioned by the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) reveals that Franklin City voters overwhelmingly support further preservation of the Franklin Battleground. According to the poll, 74 percent of those surveyed indicated they support battlefield preservation at Franklin.
"There is no doubt about it — Franklin residents are enthusiastic about protecting hallowed ground," remarked CWPT President James Lighthizer. "Clearly, city voters recognize the importance of preserving Franklin's irreplaceable Civil War history."
In the telephone survey, city voters were asked several questions related to preservation of the Franklin battlefield. In every case, a majority expressed strong support for protection of the battlefield. More than two-thirds of those questioned noted that they are personally interested in the Civil War and historical events that occurred in Franklin. A nearly unanimous 95 percent stated that they were aware of the November 1864 battle fought just outside the city.
Respondents also expressed a very positive view about plans to turn the Franklin Country Club into a battlefield park. According to the survey, 62 percent of voters favor transforming the country club into a 110-acre battlefield park. Only 23 percent of those surveyed opposed the plan.
Six out of ten voters also indicated support for a resolution by Mayor Tom Miller and the Board of Aldermen to set aside $2.5 million in matching funds for preservation of the 110-acre site. Only 26 percent opposed the use of city funds to save the property, which is adjacent to Carnton Plantation and the McGavock Confederate Cemetery.
City voters also indicated that they had not been fooled by a recent campaign to downplay the historic significance of the Country Club site. Fully 61 percent of the people surveyed observed that the country club property is "historically important." Just 14 percent thought the property was unimportant, while 25 percent expressed no opinion.
Unfortunately, the poll revealed that 58 percent of those surveyed were unaware that the Country Club could be developed as a residential subdivision. Only 42 percent realized knew that the country club could be developed if it is not preserved as a battlefield park. Lighthizer warned that lack of awareness often leads to the destruction of hallowed ground, "even where there is obvious, documented support for preservation."
The survey also confirmed that strong support exists for further Franklin City involvement in historic preservation. More than three-quarters of all respondents stated that the city has a responsibility to protect Franklin battlefield and other historic resources in the city. Seventy-one percent of those polled revealed that they would be more likely to support public officials who advocate preservation of Franklin's history.
"The numbers speak for themselves," noted Robert Hicks, spokesperson for the Franklin's Charge, a coalition of nonprofit groups that seeks to preserve Franklin Battlefield. "City voters realize that protecting Franklin's past can only improve the quality of life for city residents."
The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Research, Inc. from February 9-10, 2005. A total of 400 registered voters were interviewed citywide by telephone. For verification or questions concerning methodology, contact Brad Coker at (904) 261-2444. Margin of error is +/- 5 percentage points.
With 70,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.