Growth, teamwork and excitement are on the mind of Spring Hill’s newly-appointed City Administrator.
At the June 28 City Council meeting, the Governing Body approved Mayor Steven Ellis’ appointment of Jim Hendershot to City Administrator, a position left vacant in 2017 with Jonathan Roberts’ resignation. Hendershot was selected from a pool of more than 50 applicants and nine top candidates, who were ultimately refined to four finalists. Other finalists included Darrin Tangeman, Kiel Mangus and Fred Sherman.
Eager to get to work, Hendershot already has a first project in mind, he said.
“I’d like to set up individual meetings with every staff person so that I can get to know them better,” he said. “I have a pretty good understanding of what everybody does now but I just want a little better understanding of what they do and what they feel their role is and how that ties in with the rest of staff.”
With high expectations and a high excitement level, Hendershot has goals of engaging both residents and businesses, he said.
“I want to get very involved with the business community. I want to find out how the City can help in promoting business in the city and attracting new business. We all know what we want but also what do we need? That could be either retail or industrial. I, along with the Mayor, will be meeting with business owners in an one-on-one or a group [setting].
“Hopefully, once [residents] see my excitement level, that will flow over and get them excited. I always encourage participation at any level of municipal government, whether it be City Council or Planning Commission or whatever the function may be. I will be as visible as I can at public events and talking with residents and promoting the City there.
“I want to understand better the heartbeat of the community and what the residents and business people feel we are doing right and what we’re doing wrong so I can work to try to correct those shortcomings.”
In the long run, several projects come to mind for Hendershot including the completion of Veterans Park, quiet zones at several railroad crossings and improvements to Lincoln Street. He’s also interested in exploring streetscape improvements in Spring Hill’s historic downtown.
“I think our downtown is in a very positive place right now and I’d like to see that momentum continue,” he said. “In helping with that, I will work to see if we can improve parking in the downtown area somehow.”
On the south end of the city, traffic improvements along 223rd Street are another area of excitement, Hendershot said.
“I look forward to beginning [traffic projects] and there are several phases that will come along there. I think that’s going to allow that area to commercially explode.
“I also want to look at our growth. We’re experiencing an extremely beneficial time right now with growth. But as the subdivisions that we have begin to build out, we need to look at filling the holes in the City limits, between the original part of town and our subdivisions. …That will save us cost on infrastructure and street maintenance and everything involved in that. We’ll look at trying as much as we can to start filling those voids.”
One of the biggest projects he plans to undertake is improving Spring Hill’s access to Internet. The City’s Broadband Task Force made a recommendation to the City Council earlier this year on ways to improve access and Hendershot hopes to move that plan forward, he said.
“I’ve used the comparison that broadband and fiber service to a home is becoming nearly as important to residents as water. Understanding that helps me, along with staff, understand the importance of bringing in a high-speed, reliable broadband service. We have some definite challenges ahead of us but working off the recommendation of the Task Force and the consultants that guided them, we have some paths and options to look at and that is something, to me, that is a priority.”
Another aspect Hendershot hopes to improve is teamwork, he said.
“I see the City, USD 230, the Spring Hill Recreation Commission, civic organizations and the Chamber of Commerce, we’re a team and I would like to see an even greater team association. Together, we can accomplish even more good things. I think our relationships right now with one another are very good but we can always improve those relationships and I’ll work hard to do that.”
He also hopes to continue working with the State of Kansas for various economic development projects that may come through Topeka.
Before Hendershot began serving communities across Kansas, he served his country in the United States Marine Corps as an Anti-Tank Assaultman. After completing boot camp and infantry training, he was assigned to Marine Barracks Duty at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia. He was honorably discharged in 1976.
He then went on to receive an associate’s degree in business from Garden City Community College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from Fort Hays State University.
After graduating, Hendershot worked for his father’s construction company and then moved on to maintenance director at a rest home facility in Lakin, Kansas. In 1986, he began work as a building official and codes officer in Kearny County. In 1992, he took a position in Arkansas City, where he moved from building official to a department head of building, planning and codes. By 2007, he moved on to Spring Hill to become Planning Coordinator and worked his way up the ranks to his most recent position of Assistant City Administrator overseeing Public Works, Community Development and the Physical Plant.
In his free time, Hendershot enjoys spending time with his wife, Kimberly, who is retired after 32 years with the City of Overland Park as a Code Compliance Supervisor. The couple spends nearly all their time together golfing, camping, traveling and are avid fans of University of Kansas athletics and the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals.
Hendershot has two grown children, Matthew and Ashley, and Kimberly has two children, Brandon and Melissa. Together, they enjoy spoiling four grandchildren, who range in age from 1 to 8.
Hendershot is actively searching for a home in Spring Hill.
“Spring Hill is an exciting place,” he said. “I think it’s going to very quickly become the place the metro is going to turn its attention to and say, ‘Spring Hill is doing things right.’ We have such an energetic population, our future is bright and I’m excited to be a part of that.”