Mayor Foster Talks Hendersonville Past, Present and Future.
Mayor Scott Foster moved to Hendersonville when he was in second grade. He lived in what you might call the heart of the city at the time, between Old Shackle Island Road and New Shackle Island Road, two blocks off of Gallatin Road.
Growing up in Hendersonville, he’s seen our “City by the Lake” transform from a bedroom community into a thriving city with a strong economic base, great schools and exciting new development. And it’s a transformation in which he’s proud to have been a part.
Reflecting on his time as mayor, Foster states “It’s been a great 12 years even though we had a recession right in the middle of it. We were fortunate and blessed enough to continue to turn dirt even when a lot of other cities were going bankrupt. We were still growing; slowing but still growing.”
Foster notes it was once all too common for those living in Hendersonville to shop in the Rivergate area because there were few local options. This gave money to schools in Davidson County, not our own. This began to change when former Mayor Hank Thompson helped to bring about the development of the Glenbrook shopping area, our first retail center north of Rivergate. Thompson also started what eventually became the Indian Lake corridor which was instrumental in kicking off the growth our area has seen in recent years.
According to Foster, even after substantial development along Indian Lake Boulevard since he took office, about 40 percent of that corridor still has opportunity to grow. “Every day’s a new day and it’s a lot of fun now, because we’ve finally brought shopping and dining home,” he says. “Now when you’re eating along Indian Lake, 50 cents of every dollar you pay in sales tax goes to Sumner County School System helping our schools to get better and better.”
There’s been significant residential growth as well. Foster states, “Population-wise today we’re at about 60,000 which makes us the tenth largest city in the state. Take out the big four – Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis – and that puts us right in line with Franklin.” Developers are responding with large new subdivisions and established communities adding new phases.
Foster believes a pivotal factor in continued development will be bringing corporate headquarters to the area. He says, “We need corporate jobs because we’ve got all these great restaurants interested, but the lunch crowd isn’t here. The dinner crowd is here; we just need the lunch crowd as well to pull in those upscale restaurants.”
Foster notes several other opportunities for the future as well. One is to grow our infrastructure to meet the city’s growth, “everything from traffic to public safety to parks,” Foster said. Along with that is to remain connected to what Nashville is doing, staying on the same page particularly in terms of traffic and communications infrastructure.
Another opportunity is in considering what we want Hendersonville to be going forward. Says Foster, “Ten years ago we had a visioning session called Hendersonville Tomorrow where we set a lot of goals and have completed a lot of those. But Hendersonville is a different place now and we’ve got a new visioning process about to start called Hendersonville Horizons looking at the next 10 to 20 years.”
In all, much has been accomplished during Foster’s tenure. He cites two of his favorite projects as putting a new face on the city when moving from the old city hall to the new city hall and completing the new city library. Although he leaves office in November, Foster’s love for the city and its people will continue to inspire him to help Hendersonville keep thriving.