The $2 million project known now as Crossings North Bridge is slated to be completed on Dec. 5 of this year, however, it may be given a new name prior to its completion: Clyde Farmer Crossing, named after longtime resident, former principal, alderman, city judge and firefighter Calvert Clyde Farmer.
A resident of Spring Hill for 60 years, Farmer is a retired U.S. Army resident who taught, coached and served as principal of Spring Hill High School for 31 years. Farmer also served as a city alderman for four years, a city judge for nine years, a member of the Spring Hill Fire Department for 41 years, and is a longtime friend of current Fire Chief Terry Hood.
With the only entrance and exit to The Crossings shopping district being Crossings Boulevard, The Crossings North Bridge has long been considered a high priority for the city. Once completed, the project will see a bridge constructed by the Olive Garden, connecting The Crossings to the already constructed road across Stephen P. Yokich Parkway, which intersects with Main Street next to the McDonald’s.
It was during Monday night's meeting of the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen that Mayor Rick Graham presented the proposal to his fellow board members - a proposal that was met with universal agreement.
Alderman Vincent Fuqua, who volunteered for the Spring Hill Fire Department as a teenager, recounted a fond memory of his past experiences with Farmer.
"When I was 17 years old, I was approached by Mr. Farmer to participate in volunteering for the Fire Department," Fuqua said. "When I turned 18, he gave me some turnout gear, and shortly after there was the first fire that I got to attend, which was an old bar just off of Duplex."
"It still holds the record - for me, anyway - for putting me in more fear than I could ever imagine. He took me by the nap of my turnout gear into the doorway of this bar - flames going overhead and side to side - and told me to spray water on this. I think I spent four more years with him, and I've got very fond memories of his guidance - and a few nightmares as well."
Graham said the idea to name the bridge after Farmer came from past Mayor Brandon McCulloch, who wrote Graham with the suggestion - a suggestion backed by Chief Hood.
The board will vote on the proposal during the next voting meeting on Monday, Nov. 18. That meeting is open to the public and will be held at City Hall, 199 Town Center Parkway.