On Monday night at Spring Hill city hall, the torch was passed.
Outgoing alderman were honored by the city and Mayor Rick Graham for their service and hard work for the city.
In the municipal election last week, Ward 2 incumbent Alderman Jonathan Duda lost to Jeff Graves and Ward 3 incumbent Alderman Keith Hudson lost to Kevin Gavigan. Also recognized were Kayce Williams, who resigned from her Ward 4 Alderman seat last November to take an economic development coordinator job with the city, and Kevin McCulloch, who was appointed to her vacant seat.
Graham presented four plaques of appreciation to outgoing aldermen and praised them generously for their unwavering service.
“Congratulations to Brandon McCulloch, Kayce Williams, Keith Hudson and Jonathan Duda for your hard work and dedicated public service,” he said.
Duda served 12 years on the board, and Hudson served eight years.
The three newly elected aldermen, along with Mayor Graham and Ward 1 Alderman Amy Wurth, who won re-election in an unopposed race, will be sworn in at 6 p.m. April 26 at Spring Hill City Hall.
Duda was upset by challenger Graves with 975 votes to 722.
Hudson lost to Gavigan, 827 to 795.
Graham won re-election in a close mayoral race against challenger Shane McNeill, 879 votes to 850.
In the open race for the Ward 4 seat, Fuqua beat Doug Hotlz 846 to 783.
In Ward 1, running unopposed Amy Wurth received 1,420 votes.
About the winners:
Wurth is from Lafayette, Indiana, and went to Purdue University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and management. After college, she worked for the late Richard Daley, the 43rd Mayor of Chicago. On the BOMA, she is known for her attention to budgetary details, fiscal conservatism and her willingness to take a stand on issues she feels passionate about.
Wurth moved to Spring Hill in 2003 where she now lives with her two sons and husband Tom, a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter.
Ward 2 Jeff Graves
Graves has spent the majority of his life in Williamson County. After growing up in Nolensville and graduating from Brentwood High School in 2000, he moved to West Tennessee for 9 years where he lived in Martin, Tenn., while working on a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin. In 2004, Graves moved to Memphis, Tennessee to pursue Master’s of Divinity from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2009, Jeff Graves and his wife, Chelsea, moved to Spring Hill where they have planted roots, started a family, and launched careers.
“Maybe more now than ever, the decisions we make today for our city will define the future our children and our grandchildren have in Spring Hill,” he said.
Graves believes the community is at critical juncture and the next five to ten years will be crucial to the prosperity and health of Spring Hill. He believes his responsibility, as alderman, is to listen to the people of Spring Hill to make common sense decisions that are best for the people and plan wisely for the future growth of the city.
“I want Spring Hill to be a place that our children and grandchildren will want to live in or move to for the same reasons you and I did,” he said.
Some of the issues Graves plans to address include traffic, planning and quality of life.
“Spring Hill’s population is growing faster than our infrastructure,” Graves said. “It is imperative that we use common sense to manage this growth today while planning wisely and thinking toward the future. I believe we can plan and grow in a way that maintains our small town charm while providing the luxuries of the city.”
Gavigan wants to shake things up.
He claimed his opponent had not done enough for the Spring Hill infrastructure. He wants to work with TDOT to make sure Spring Hill is a priority.
Gavigan has spent 24 years in Spring Hill and was born here. He has a law degree and went to Lipscomb University. He is married with two daughters.
Fuqua has lived in Spring Hill since he was 10, and now operates a landscaping company.
He hopes to address development and traffic.
“I am passionate about our city,” he said. “I want to be represent the citizens like myself that don’t feel that crucial issues are being addressed in a timely manner and some not addressed at all.”
He said that traffic is a “nightmare” in Spring Hill, and will only get worse unless the city works with the state.
He also plans to give development a close look with visions that go beyond financial interest.
“When developing an area, the impact of roads, intersections, and schools needs to be analyzed closely and zoned appropriately,” he said.
“Spring Hill is not the small town of the past, but rather one of the fastest growing areas in the state. It is vital that we preserve its hometown feel by taking action.”
Mayor Rick Graham
Elected mayor in 2013 after six years as an alderman, Graham has overseen the continued economic and residential development of Spring Hill.
Graham, 59, has lived in Spring Hill with his wife since 2003. They have two grown sons.
“Our priorities remain public safety, transportation and parks,” he said for a year-end review of 2016.
When he took office in 2013 he said two main long-term goals included getting U.S. Highway 31 on the state’s list of roads to widen and partnering with the county and state to work on building an interchange from Buckner Road to Interstate 65.
The city presented a $19 million reduced-cost plan for U.S. 31 widening in the fall, which TDOT approved, according to city documents. The widening of U.S. 31 from Miles Johnson Parkway to Buckner Road in Spring Hill is on the state’s planning horizon for 2021-2030. But city officials sought to expedite the process by funding the initial design work and possibly even sharing the costs of the future right-of-way land acquisition and construction work.
The city is waiting on the spring legislative session to find out if funds will be made available.
As for the new interchange, driven by Graham and other leaders, various direct and indirect efforts have been taken to bring about such a project on Buckner Road.
City officials are pursuing a widening of Buckner Road from two to five lanes, which is included in the traffic study for the proposed Alexander property.
Graham has said that getting an interchange approved requires showing it will have a regional impact. The proposed Alexander project could provide this.
As of now, it is up to the Federal Highway Administration, after an Interstate Access Request study performed this fall was passed on to TDOT.
“I know people are frustrated with it, but there is a lot to it and a lot of things that have to happen,” Graham said about the interchange in a year-end review of 2016. “All of those things go into creating the new northern entrance to Spring Hill.”