BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
The city of Spring Hill made strides in 2018; from being awarded a $25 million federal grant, to making its first move to the newly purchased Northfield building with the city’s building codes and planning & zoning departments, Spring Hill is setting the stage to keep up with its population, which a recent study suggests is the single-fastest growing in the state.
With all these recent developments, which is poised to make the largest impact on Spring Hill and its residents in 2019?
Ward 3 alderman Susan Zemek says its without a doubt the city’s move to the Northfield building.
“Everything being moved to Northfield is the biggest of 2019,” Zemek said. “I’m going to miss our city hall building being in the heart of our city, but, when you look at the plans, everything’s going to be in one spot. I think that’s what I’m most excited about.”
Purchased by the city in December of 2017 for approximately $8 million, the 355,000-square-foot Northfield building will soon be the home for the city library, police headquarters and city hall. The vast majority of construction will take place during 2019, with most of the projects anticipated to be completed in 2020.
Northfield, which includes a 100-seat auditorium and a 200-seat conference center, was originally the headquarters of Saturn, the GM subsidiary that was established in Spring Hill more than 30 years ago. It was used to train Saturn auto mechanics and sales representatives for dealerships, and hold corporate meetings. Saturn’s headquarters moved to Detroit in 2007. GM discontinued the Saturn brand in 2010.
Regarding the library, Zemek said she had opposed the move to the Northfield building, but eventually understood the value in the project.
“The library is going to be amazing… I was against it at first, of it moving because I felt like it was so far out that we were going to lose the community part of Spring Hill,” Zemek said. “I was in favor of a bigger building, even if we just had to go up. After talking to some of the patrons at Spring Hill Library, and how excited they were after seeing the plans, I’m 100 percent on board now. Our library gets more membership than Brentwood does, it’s amazing.”
The library project will see huge improvements following the move, going from the 13,000-square-foot building on Kedron Road, to a massive 37,000 square foot facility, with an additional 13,000 square feet planned for the second floor. The library will also feature an outdoor patio by a cafe, giving guests a perfect spot to read outside will enjoying a hot or cold beverage.
Zemek said that the non quantifiable attributes of a city, such as the sense of community that comes from a centralized city hall or library, are often overlooked, but that she thinks that the Northfield building will be a fine location for the city’s new hub.
“We’re not just a city of 40,000, we are a small community,” Zemek said. “That’s the thing that gets lost in city business that someone on there has to keep remembering.”