From young families in search of good schools, affordable homes and close-knit neighborhoods to retirees looking for a lower cost of living, top-notch health care and shopping, entertainment and recreational opportunities, record-setting numbers of new residents are discovering Maury County. A growing number of tourists are also flocking to the area to explore its thriving music scene, wealth of historic sites, and hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing and fishing opportunities at area parks.
Together, tourists and new residents are spurring a building boom of new hotel rooms, restaurants, entertainment venues and single-family houses throughout the county.
That boom is getting bigger.
In Spring Hill, national retirement community builder Del Webb is launching Southern Springs – the community will have 600 homes and is expected to attract active adults from across the country.
“Active adults are a tremendous asset for the communities they call home,” says Ramay Winchester, director of Retire Tennessee, an organization that promotes locations in Tennessee, including Maury County, as retirement destinations.
“Attracting retirees is an economic development strategy,” she says. “They buy housing, spend their money locally and tend to be great leaders and volunteers for community service organizations.”
Low Cost, High Value
Retirees are not the only demographic discovering Maury County. Rising home prices in Nashville are drawing homebuyers and commuters to Spring Hill and Columbia, where building permits are being issued at the fast pace of about 19 permits per 1,000 existing homes.
Those new residents discover a community with a high quality of life, where the cost of living is 12 percent below the national average, but all the amenities of a big city are only a short drive away.
Residents can also find confidence that their families and property are well protected. All of Maury County’s cities have high ratings from the national Insurance Services Office for their fire protection. In fact, Columbia became the first city in Tennessee to achieve the ISO’s highest rating.
Ryan Fowler and his family were considering moving from Memphis to Nashville until they found Maury County.
“Over time, as we rattled off our list of desires for an area, we kept saying to ourselves, ‘I wish this (Nashville) neighborhood had the community feel of a place like Columbia.’” Fowler says. “Eventually, we realized that instead of looking for a place that was ‘like Columbia,’ we should just move to Columbia.”
All the Ingredients
“Columbia has the historic charm we were looking for, affordability and is still accessible to the amenities of Nashville and the airport, which I need for my job,” Fowler continues. “We didn’t take the idea seriously at first, but after a few cups of Muletown Coffee and some walks along the beautiful River Walk, we were hooked.”
Residents and visitors alike have a wide choice of destinations and activities to enjoy in Maury County, from touring antebellum homes in the area to checking out the burgeoning live music and dining scene at Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant, Venue Tenn and Marco’s at 822 South. Variety Records on the Columbia square is another place to explore musical roots, says Erin Jaggers, executive director of the Maury County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Wineries, distinctive shops and art galleries are top attractions in Maury County. So are festivals such as the Mid-South BBQ Festival in Mount Pleasant, the Country Ham Festival in Spring Hill and Muletown Music Fest in Columbia.
Residents can enjoy shopping and entertainment at The Crossings in Spring Hill, home to restaurants and the Carmike 12 movie theater. Those looking for outdoor experiences can find a variety of parks. Spring Hill recently opened its new 30-acre Port Royal Park, which features a playground, splash pad, football fields, and basketball and tennis courts. In Columbia, Ridley Park draws crowds for its baseball, softball, soccer and football fields, and Woodland Park is developing a disc golf course. The Riverwalk Park has been a hit with its walking trail, and the Columbia Fresh Market draws many people to the farmer’s market pavilion during the growing season. For outdoor enthusiasts, Chickasaw Trace Park offers more than eight miles of mountain bike trails, along with Duck River access and picnic areas.