J.F.K. said that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” It’s the idea that success breeds success. And the glow of that success can help all those around shine, too.
The tide is rising in the city of Spring Hill. Located in middle Tennessee, this city of 55,000 is a suburb of Nashville. It used to be considered a bedroom community: a place where residents might say they were from Nashville, even though they lived 30 minutes south, in Spring Hill.
These days, though, Spring Hill has an identity all its own. It’s a city that’s seen tremendous growth in the last few years and is listed in the top 10 of fastest growing cities in the United States. Lots of new businesses are setting up shop here, making it a hotspot for development.
“I like to say that we’re the greatest city in the state of Tennessee,” Mayor of Spring Hill, Jim Hagaman, says. “I feel like we have all the components that make us a place where people like to say, ‘Hey, I’m from Spring Hill, Tennessee!’’ and be excited about it.”
Taking the Temperature
The history of Spring Hill goes way back. “Spring Hill,” Hagaman explains, “is on the national map because we’re very significant in the history of the Civil War and how it played out.” The area is dotted with historical places, from battlefields to Antebellum houses, making it a sure stop for history buffs. It gives their city a unique offering, Hagaman believes. “A lot of cities don’t have Civil War history. And, good or bad, however you want to judge it…The history is here. And it’s just a really charming thing.”
The city of Spring Hill is a bit of an anomaly, in that it’s split over two counties: Williamson County and Maury County. This can pose a few challenges because different counties have different rules. Hagaman, though, thinks it’s beneficial, because they get more representation in the state government. “There’s strength in numbers!” he laughs.
Spring Hill is alluring for a host of reasons. For starters, Tennessee is one of the few states that has no state income tax. Another perk is the mild weather. “Spring Hill is a great place,” Hagaman explains, “because we are centrally located in middle Tennessee. Our weather is favorable. We don’t have extreme cold or extreme heat for long periods of time.”
What is not mild, though, is the business climate. Some might even say, Spring Hill is on fire. Economic development is exploding here.
“The city is very business friendly,” Hagaman says. He credits the two counties and the three area Chambers of Commerce for this: Williamson County Inc., Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance, and Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce. “And nobody competes!” Hagaman boasts. “They actually partner and collaborate with the mindset of: ‘Let’s do what we can for Spring Hill.’ All three Chambers are awesome… that helps to get the word out.”
“It’s a draw for people and businesses that want to come here because they want to come to a city that supports them… they want to be in a place where they are appreciated and can make a healthy living.”
One such thriving company is the trendy Groove Life. They make wallets, belts, and watch bands, but are most well known for their breathable silicone rings, the hip new way to sport a wedding band. “Groove Life is a really cool place,” comments Hagaman. “And they employ many young people.”
For the Love of Sport
New businesses are streaming in across a spectrum of industries. For example, the United States Tennis Association recently announced plans to build a multi-million dollar tennis complex in Spring Hill. It’s massive– more than 50 tennis and pickleball courts on more than 200 acres. Early economic impact estimates predict that this will bring $20 million dollars into the local economy– in just the first year.
In addition, the Nashville Predators are building a community hockey and ice skating center in Spring Hill. Youth sports are a tremendous economic market these days, and both of these new facilities will generate more visitors and more revenue. With partnerships from an NHL team and the USTA, “the word gets out,” Hagaman says. “That’s a big draw.” More businesses are likely to follow suit. Hagaman intimates there’s some other huge projects in the works, as well, that will be announced down the road.
Taking Center Stage
GM is expanding here, too, with a 4.3 billion dollar investment. They’ve partnered with South Korea’s LG Energy Solutions to build an Ultium Cells battery plant. These are the batteries that power their electric cars. GM is also constructing another new building, dedicated to the production of the Cadillac LYRIQ, to the tune of another 2 billion dollars in investment money. “It’s a very, very positive and impactful arrangement,” Hagaman gushes about both ventures. “It will bring hundreds of more jobs.”
WorldWide Stages has their Grand Opening this month, as well. They are a full service, fully-secure concert rehearsal space, hosting a range of A-list artists preparing for their tours. WorldWide Stages is a venue that allows crews to do full set-up, rehearsal, and tear-down. They even have a staging area for semi-trucks to practice driving in and out of the loading docks. Additionally, they provide full soundstage and production facilities for music, TV, film and virtual production. According to Hagaman, it has the wow factor: “It’s the only one like it in America. They can provide pyrotechnics. They can make it rain. They can do all of that in one place.” Hagaman praises the hard work of owner and CEO, Kelly Frey. “He’s an entrepreneur that has seen his vision come to fruition. It’s amazing.”
Leading the Way
Hagaman’s excitement is palpable. He loves this town. And he loves serving his citizens. Hagaman brings a lifetime of both military and civilian leadership experience into his role as mayor. “When I first came in,” he recalls, “we made some changes. I wanted to change the trajectory of Spring Hill. People always said, ‘this is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA.’ My idea was to have people say ‘this is the smartest growing city [in the USA].”
To help achieve this, some staff changes did occur. “We have a dedicated and competent staff. I am blessed and honored to serve with them. Additionally, it’s great for me to be part of an elected board that is professional and caring. Our hearts are in it for the right ways… the trajectory has changed and it continues to change.”
All this growth means that infrastructure needs to grow, too. “When you grow,” Hagaman notes, “and don’t plan accordingly in terms of infrastructure, that weighs on the citizens.” A sewer expansion is in the works, as well as plans to deal with the heavy traffic that a bigger population brings. One project that Hagaman knows will help is the new interchange being built in the northern part of the city, servicing June Lake, the new 775-acre mixed use development. Other road projects are on the docket, as well.
They are trying to grow smarter. That means, according to Hagaman, being smart about roadways and what can be widened and when. It’s being smart about making sure green spaces are preserved and created, right alongside all of that development. “We have what’s called the Harvey Park Greenway Plan,” Hagaman explains. “And every developer that comes in, whether they’re industry or housing, they have to be part of that. They have to contribute to make sure we have connectivity, so that we have walking and biking trails throughout our city.” Significant green space must be on every developer’s plans before Hagaman and his team will give them the green light. “I am a person who represents the citizens first…” Hagaman shares, “I’m happy to be a public servant for the citizens I represent.”
Hagaman’s vision for smart growth and proud citizens are becoming a reality. Spring Hill is no longer just a sleepy bedroom community. They’ve taken the old adage, Rise and Shine, to heart. They are wide awake and ready for whatever the next tide might bring in.