Brentwood’s Jim Redd Keeps in the Swing of Things

A hallmark of youth is the capacity to envision the building of something better from a mere pile of present possibilities. Brentwood’s legendary Jim Redd, now nearly 90, remains a most youthful man. For Jim, four score plus 10 is not an age, but just a number for a bad round of golf—one he rarely has.

“My next endeavor is to create interest in a performing arts center for Williamson County,” Jim exclaims, his bright eyes full of excitement at the idea. “Brentwood could share it with Franklin and host top-quality art and artists.”

Along with Francis, his wife of 64 years, we sit in the cheerful sunroom of their beautiful home. Jim built it himself more than 40 years ago. Pictures of the couple’s three adult children and four grandchildren are on display in the various rooms, each tastefully appointed, perfectly set and ready for company at the ring of a doorbell and the drop of a hat. Set far from the road and obscured by trees, the bustle of booming Brentwood—now a city—seems far away. Yet booming Brentwood began here, more than a half a century ago, in the vision of Jim and a handful of other local leaders. Throughout 1968, they organized our charter form of government (every elected official represents the whole city) and prepared Brentwood’s first annual budget of $96,000.

“Our city is so unique,” Jim avers with justifiable pride. “We were fortunate to have made the proper decisions. The key is controlled zoning. It has allowed us to maintain low density and to avoid becoming too congested.”  

Jim makes a great point, one that could even grace a billboard were Brentwood to allow them. Thanks to his foresight, we don’t.   

In the air conditioning business since 1959—“I got in on the front end of that,” Jim says—he balances business success with civic engagement. Just this past April, he served as grand marshal of “A Golden Gallop,” Brentwood’s 50th birthday parade. But Jim is not a man content to merely float away. There’s still that performing arts center to manifest. The conservation turns invariably back to it.

“It would be great for our county,” he says. “All we have to do is start. Anything is possible.”

With a track record like Jim’s, it’s hard not to believe him.