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Every mayor in Williamson County gathered last week at the annual Breakfast with the Mayors, hosted by Franklin Tomorrow, and the theme was all about growth. Obviously, growth in Spring Hill has been apparent for some time, but every city in the county is experiencing similar issues, including Thompson’s Station.
Mayor Corey Napier estimated that by the end of the 2020 census, the number of people in Thompson’s Station will have doubled since last count to more than 5,000 residents. The question, he asked, was in the face of significant growth, how does his town create a “modern Mayberry?”
Alluding to the fictional town where the Andy Griffith Show was set, Napier spoke about keeping Thompson’s Station as quaint as possible, while also realizing how important that land mass is to the state and county.
“When we made the decision to do a referendum to create our own charter, what came out was we wanted to maintain the ‘close to everything, but away from it all vibe.’ What does that look like? We spent all these years trying to figure out,” he said during the event.
With 18 square miles of nearly wide open space, the town spans over three interchanges along Interstate 840, making land near those areas prime real estate.
“How do you maintain a cow-to-human ratio that’s an indicator of quality of life,” he asked. “A big part of our community is to give people the part of Tennessee they enjoy. They enjoy the outdoors.”
In an attempt to give residents a way to stay connected through personal interaction in the outdoor setting, the town has put together a comprehensive trail system which will eventually connect the entire town.
“In the last year or two, we’ve managed through the federal government, as well as state and local elected officials, to win over $3 million in grants to build our trails,” he said. “We’re building a way for people to get outside, be active and be socially connected. We’re building east and west, north and south connectivity multi-mode options for our residents and visitors. I think it’s necessary.”
Additionally, Napier spoke about the need for more roads as well, as the town continues to grow. Over the last year, the town was included in the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s plan to widen U.S. 31 through the town. Thompson’s Station has also created a major thoroughfare plan as well, which will come at a cost.
In order to do that, Napier said, the town must take a comprehensive look at its finances, and make notes where there could be some increases to help better plan for the future.
“We are looking at all of our sources of revenue — whether it be property tax, sales tax, impact fees, sewer rates, etc. — we have to be honest and pragmatic about what we’re facing,” he said. “We have the lowest property tax — by far — in the county. If you took our tax rate and moved it to Spring Hill’s ... we’d go from $300,000 per year to $2.2 million.”
“There’s no free lunch, so for us: How do we take that on?” . . .
Mayor’s Breakfast Video