The City of Springfield’s 2020 Strategic Planning Session was held Friday, Jan. 30, where city officials and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen gathered to discuss future plans for the city.
In order to prepare for the meeting, a survey was given to city leaders, Mayor Ann Schneider and the Board of Aldermen to determine how they believe the city has progressed and what to focus on in the future. A total of nine questions were used as the basis for what will become the official five-year strategic plan for Springfield, which will be finalized this month.
According to the survey, part of Springfield’s greatest appeal was voted to be the small-town atmosphere at 19 percent, town features at 17 percent and positive atmosphere at 14 percent. City officials also mentioned the proximity to Nashville, housing affordability and the unique shops and restaurants as leading features of the city.
The survey results show city leaders focusing on quality city services at 25 percent and communication with the public at 18 percent as things the city is doing well in. The officials believe in maintaining a high level of customer service through helpful, caring and service minded employees.
For strengthening the community, the survey showed an overwhelming emphasis on promoting the city through good communication at 48 percent followed by focus on growth at 13 percent and spending money strategically at 9 percent. The group mentioned ideas like promoting success stories and communicating more with business and residents.
According to the survey, helping the city grow and improve and home town pride were the largest motivators for official’s involvement in Springfield. One response applauded the potential for quality, distinctive growth unlike other middle Tennessee cities.
The survey showed officials believed the most important opportunity for Springfield at this time is preparing for and handling growth at 47 percent followed by recruiting for jobs and growing businesses at 24 percent. Focusing on sufficient infrastructure is one suggestion made that would support and prepare for growth and new businesses.
In the survey, addressing growth at 23 percent, communication with the community at 19 percent and infrastructure projects and city services at 15 percent dominated the section of urgent work for the board and staff. One response stated the city should work on better marketing and perception so locals have a place to “live in, work in (and) play in”.
Some challenges and opportunities the survey addressed was planning for growth at 27 percent, future of utilities at 23 percent and infrastructure at 19 percent. The top three results tend to be intertwined with infrastructure being the basis for success. A representative answer said making infrastructure changes and improvements would help prepare for the expected growth coming to Springfield.
According to the survey, family and youth-oriented businesses and activities and more shopping and entertainment tied at 22 percent for opportunities missing in town. Some ways officials discussed rectifying this issue was adding family-based restaurants, facilities for youth and wholesome entertainment.
Ideas for community development included business recruitment at 23 percent, residential development at 15 percent and community engagement at 11 percent. Taking advantage of communication avenues like email, marketing, digital marketing and social media are great ways city leaders can invest in the city’s future.
“I was pleased with the results of the survey,” City Manager Gina Holt said. “Quality city services and communication with the public ranked high for what we do well. We work hard to improve services and communication, so that was a positive.
“I also thought the variety of responses about things that people brag about was a plus. We have a small-town atmosphere in an affordable, family-friendly, growing area with unique amenities.
“Planning for growth is the area that we need to continue working on. Infrastructure expansion and upgrades are vital to our success, and yet they are costly. The challenge is to finance growth in a manner which will not place a burden on our citizens and rate payers and yet bring in the quality development that we need to sustain our high level of services.”