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Mayor Rick Graham on Thursday, May 23, announced plans to create a new advisory task force to explore the potential for creating a Spring Hill town center.
The older, more historic part of Spring Hill, located along Main Street in the center of town, is generally identified as the “downtown area;” however, a majority of the buildings that made up the original town center were destroyed over the past 100 years in a series of unfortunate fires and tornadoes. It has long been the vision of Mayor Graham and many other city officials, in both current and some prior administrations, to one day create a true, identifiable town center that can serve as a central public gathering place.
The new Town Center Task Force will be asked to study the possibilities and feasibility of a town center, identify potential locations, and advise the Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA) with its findings and recommendations.
The mayor kicked off the process by announcing two initial appointments to the task force: Alderman and business owner Hazel Nieves, and business owner Bill Benedict, who chairs the Historic Commission and serves on the Tourism Council. Mayor Graham will work with Alderman Nieves and Mr. Benedict to fill the remaining positions with citizen appointments, which will be considered by formal application.
Spring Hill residents are encouraged to apply for a position on the task force at: http://www.springhilltn.org/FormCenter/Administration-15/Town-Center-Task-Force-Application-78
“I have been vocal that now that we have our top 10 Capital Improvement Projects in place and funded, including our top eight road projects, we must look ahead along with our branding initiative on our future needs as a city,” Mayor Graham said. “We cannot afford to put all of our eggs in one basket, even as we all know the importance of our roads and infrastructure to all of us.”
Preparing for future parkland
Mayor Graham also tasked the Spring Hill Tourism Council with the important initiative of exploring Spring Hill’s long-term future with regard to preservation and creation of additional parkland and open space to ensure these quality of life aspects continue to expand along with the growing population.
“Our vacant land in Spring Hill will be gone in the next two decades and, if we don't move sooner than later, it will be poof, gone,” Mayor Graham said. “We need a few hundred acres, in my estimation, preserved for future parks, open space, and other needs. How we acquire this land could be through direct purchase with landowners, public/private partnerships, and land trust deals. This will be very, very challenging.”
On May 10, Mayor Graham addressed one of his earlier campaign promises by appointing a Sportsplex Task Force to begin studying the feasibility of a future Spring Hill Sportsplex to help fill the gaps in our community with regard to sports fields.
“These are all big initiatives, but very important for our long-term success. Buckle up, as we will be having some great discussions and debate on how we can move forward in this regard,” Mayor Graham said. “Is it possible to do all three, plus what we have already committed with our top 10 capital improvement projects? I don't know, but we will not know until we do our due diligence, feasibility studies, and a lot of hard work. These might take many years or even a decade to complete. But, we have to start the discussion some time. I feel the time is right, and I hope you do, too.”