Our second luncheon of the year included a panel discussion from our Spring Hill Economic Development Commission (EDC). The Chamber wanted our members to learn more about the mission, goals and strategy of our EDC and how it relates to the business community. The Mayor has appointed the following individuals to serve on the commission.
Jim Grimes, owner of Autobody Advantage, Chamber Board Member, Chairman of EDC
David St. Charles, owner of local State Farm agency, Chamber Vice Chair
Sue Jeffers, Benchmark Realty, board member of Pregnancy Centers of Middle TN, co- leader and speaker for End Slavery TN
Will Tenpenny, owner of local Edward Jones, former Chamber Board Member and 2015 Chairman
Ike Wingate, Chamber Board Member, owner of Wingate Media
Jeff Graves, Alderman Ward 2, Educator at Summit High School
Chairman Jim Grimes gave an overview of the commission’s role. In general, the EDC exists to recruit businesses to Spring Hill as outlined by the city’s comprehensive plan, Spring Hill Rising 2040. The EDC does not work in isolation but rather with existing local organizations, including the Chamber, to achieve their vision. Spring Hill has traditionally been a manufacturing city thanks to the large investment by General Motors, but the commission is working to diversify the industries represented. While the EDC cannot control what landowners choose to do with their land thanks to our country’s laws of free enterprise, they try to stay ahead of development with targeted recruitment of businesses, goods and services. The commission seeks to capitalize on the community’s positives: location, demographics, and high quality of life.
David St. Charles explained how Spring Hill, TN has become well known at the national EDC conferences and that the commission isn’t fighting for recognition anymore, which is a huge plus when recruiting large businesses to relocate to Spring Hill. The appointment of a full time Economic Development Coordinator, Kayce Williams, has given the city credibility and traction that it didn’t have before. While recruiting new businesses, the EDC seeks to ensure responsible growth. In addition, the EDC seeks to expand current businesses since “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Ike Wingate, the newest member of the commission, expressed how long each project can take and how important it is for them to take one step at a time while keeping their eyes on the big picture. There are many moving parts and several projects hinge on the successes of other projects.
Sue Jeffers mentioned how important the creation of the EDC’s Compass document has been for driving and guiding their efforts. She also mentioned how important the meetings with the current Spring Hill landowners have been in order to give the commission a greater understanding of our community’s wants and needs. These discussions will continue and the general public is asked to attend a June 19th meeting at 6:30pm at the UAW Hall to provide feedback to the commission as well. In addition, she encouraged Chamber members to give the EDC names and contact information for any landowners, business owners and influential community leaders that should also be included in these discussions.
Will Tenpenny continued on that note by explaining how important it is for our business community to get involved in not just what the EDC is doing but what the city in general is doing. For example, the current draft of the Unified Development Code is now open for community feedback. Many of the revisions in the draft contain code that will impact future development and business owners. It’s important to understand the provisions in the document and to voice your concerns or suggestions to your Board of Mayor and Alderman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kayce Williams concluded the panel by offering a summary of current projects. She shared some new drone footage of the Reserve Boulevard Corridor, which is a main focus in the city’s comprehensive plan. The EDC is recruiting class A office space, research and development and innovative technology companies for this corridor. She announced the recent approval of the I-65 Interchange at Buckner Road which will provide momentum for the Alexander Farm mixed use development project. She explained that the city will continue to work with the Maury County Industrial Development Board, Maury Alliance and General Motors on securing a 330 acre corporate business park project south of Rippavilla. Without naming names, Kayce announced an expansion of an existing business, which will double in size and create more white collar jobs. In addition, she explained that the first corporate relocation under Mayor Graham’s administration and this EDC should be announced soon. She ensured the attendees that more is to come and as the city is able to make the news public, everyone will know more about the specific projects the commission is working hard to turn into reality.
It was great to hear an update from our EDC staff and members. Our city is in good hands with their vision and leadership. I’d encourage you to reach out to these individuals with specific questions and to also show them your support.
Rebecca Melton, Executive Director, Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce