By ALEXANDER WILLIS
As Thompson’s Station continues to see tremendous growth, with recent figures naming portions of the town to be the single fastest growing area in the state, developing infrastructure to keep up with all that growth continues to be at the forefront for town officials.
Mayor Corey Napier, who was recently re-elected to serve another four years, said the development of Thompson’s Station is a balancing act of continuing to accommodate its growing population, while at the same time preserving the town’s identity, which Napier calls the “oasis” of Williamson County.
“We’ve always stood for being, if you will, a modern Mayberry,” Napier said, alluding to the peaceful fictional town from the Andy Griffith Show. “We want to be a progressive, world class town for folks to live in, embracing sustainability and self-sufficiency, and the quality of life components that people want. They want outdoors, they want pets, they want connectivity and the chance to interact with their neighbors.”
Three of the most important developments residents will see in 2019, according to Napier, will be the continued development of the town square, the redesign and improvements to Critz Lane, and the development of a more permanent wastewater treatment solution, which has been an ongoing matter in the town for years.
“I’m excited about the next year, from a workshop standpoint, getting the wastewater issue further addressed, because it’s a door opener for things like the downtown redevelopment effort, which includes town hall,” Napier said. “The new town hall has been sitting on the back-burner now for the last year. We have finalized sketch plans, so that’s an exciting project.”
Napier said he would also like to see the town put together more public events. After seeing the success of the Christmas tree lighting in 2018, which drew hundreds of residents from all over Williamson County, Napier said giving people a reason to visit Thompson’s Station would do well to both build a sense of community, and to bring in additional revenue from additional tourism.
When asked what he considered to be the most important road project of 2019, Napier was quick to answer.
“Without a doubt, it’ll be the continued redesigned and engineering of Critz Lane,” Napier said. “We have rush hour traffic a couple times a day for the schools, [and] Critz really is the primary arterial road, so it’s a major big deal in our town. And because Spring Hill does not have their interchange built, how does the traffic get home to Spring Hill? Through Thompson’s Station.”
Thompson’s Station alderman Ben Dilks also agreed with the importance of the continued improvements to Critz Lane, calling the road “unsafe.”
“It’s long overdue,” Dilks said of the improvements to Critz Lane. “It’s an unsafe, old country road, and it was never designed to handle the traffic that’s being put on it right now. I think we’re finally going to get it started and make some progress there, and hopefully in the next couple of years, complete the whole project.”
Napier said that the improvements to Critz Lane are expected to be completed by the summer of 2020.
Other milestones Napier said he would like to be realized soon include the further improvements to the main trail at Preservation Park, as well as the town website being revamped. The trail at Preservation Park is expected to be completed within 18 months according to Napier, with the revamped website expected to go live sometime in 2019.
While the actual population figures in Thompson’s Station continue to rise significantly, growing to 5,662 in 2017 from just 2,225 in 2010, residential development continues to be kept at a low pace, with just 199 new residential permits issued in 2018. For comparison, 2017 saw 222 new residential permits issued, with 2016 seeing 198, 2015 seeing 340, and 2014 seeing 259.
Despite the continued growth, the town has retained its large swaths of farmland, and small-town community feel, something Napier hopes the town will retain, years after his tenure.