The city of Spring Hill saw significant developments in 2019. From launching the first stages that will eventually see the city get a new interchange, to the launching of three city task forces, Spring Hill is living up to its title of one of the fastest growing cities in the state.
To look back on some of 2019's highlights, the Home Page spoke with Mayor Rick Graham about what he thought were the year's biggest takeaways.
What do you think the biggest accomplishment was for Spring Hill in 2019?
I'd say probably getting these revenue streams set for our future road projects.
You know we had to do a property tax increase. We tied that increase strictly to the 10 top Capital Improvement Projects, so all this work we've been doing for seven-plus years of getting the road projects moving, now we got two revenue streams. Doesn't mean their funded, it just means we got the streams set up to fund them.
And so we got these projects; Buckner Road/Buckner Lane interstate interchange, and the rest of our future road projects getting going... it's really big for us.
How would you compare the productivity of the city in 2019 compared to previous years?
Yeah, I don't think it's been any big radical change. We can finally see the glimmer of light — I keep using the road analogy: right down the road. The first years were so frustrating for everyone because of the hoops that we needed to jump through and couldn't be seen by the public.
So it's setting the groundwork. All that groundwork had to be done, it's not that exciting ribbon-cutting type event, but it's the things you had to do. And in the meantime too we were handling several other projects, like what'd we put in, like 12 traffic signals, and we still got a couple more coming.
Is there any business or restaurant that opened in 2019 that you were particularly excited about?
I have to say I'm pretty excited about the Five Guys opening soon. I'm a big Five Guys lover, I like a big thick burger. The [Spring Hill] Chamber [of Commerce] each month adds on another 12 or 15 new clients, so it's been a good steady growth pattern for small businesses.
What is the thing that you're most excited for in 2020 for Spring Hill?
I would say it's probably to see where we're headed with the task forces that I have asked people to work on.
The three that I created this year; the Sportsplex Task Force, they just gave us a update, so now they're going into their next stage of work. The Town Center group, they're progressing so we start we decide what we're going to do about downtown center. Then the third one is the Tourism Council, which is working on land preservation.
I've been pretty vocal here lately that our vacant lands are going to be developed and grown in the next 20, 30 years — as a city, we need to be preserving some of these lands for future needs so it doesn't all become developed. We got enough for everything, but we've got to be thinking about [that].