This year Groveland City Council interviewed five potential candidates for the City Manager position, and in March, Mike Hein was unanimously chosen as the new city manager. It was a sharp move on the part of the council. The new city manager has brought positive energy and a cohesive vision to Groveland’s future.
When Mike Hein, a knowledgeable professional, was asked why he chose to become the City Manager of Groveland, he said he sees an exciting future for Groveland and he wants to play a part in its impending growth. “Groveland is at an exciting time in its history. While other communities have committed to certain paths, Groveland’s is in some ways still uncharted. While it has a rich past, how it moves forward is critical. If everyone takes the time and participates in crafting that vision, it can maintain that warm small-town charm, while embracing inclusivity and developing as a place where families grow”.
Part of what Mike is referring to is the City of Groveland’s Downtown Master Plan. The plan focuses on creating a pedestrian-friendly setting; encouraging intense commercial development and redevelopment; and providing additional residential options so that people may live and work downtown.
In the plan, a segment of SR 50 will be moved to the north of downtown on a new alignment to facilitate a more walkable downtown. This change would shift the truck traffic and allow the existing SR 50 roadway to be modified to provide improved access to downtown businesses. Once SR 50 is realigned and constructed, Broad Street and Orange Street will be returned to the City of Groveland’s jurisdiction and no longer will be part of the State road system.
The South Lake Trail is another plan that, when implemented, will impact Groveland’s future. The Trail is a paved, multi-use path planned from Clermont west through Groveland, Mascotte, and the remainder of Lake County.
Presently Groveland has a total of 112 employees. Last year 300 building permits were issued, this year 500, and it’s estimated that 1,000 building permits will be issued in the not so distant future. Last year five new police officers were added to the force to meet the growth and demand in the community.
With the anticipated growth, Hein believes it is essential to cultivate and empower his team. He recently held a team workshop where both his and his teams’ expectations were established. A get to know your team program has been implemented. Each month, a member of the city’s team is spotlighted and receives the prime parking space right outside City Hall. This program is especially popular during heavy rains and extreme heat.
Hein says he wants to build a sense of community and see it prosper with pride. He hopes Groveland can create a bright future by learning from its past. With that said, he has planned a field trip for his team to Groveland Historical Society to learn more about Groveland’s rich history.
Hein looks to the future, where no request should be ignored or downplayed. He has been in Groveland for less than six months, but his unpretentious manner has endeared him to many already. He recently told a story which validates the nature of Groveland’s city manager.
“ About two months ago, a young person came to the lobby of City Hall and asked to meet with me. Ms. Hope Brownlee, an 11 year told me about her idea to put a “little free library” near the Gazebo in Lake David Park. She inquired about what steps would need to be taken to make her concept a reality.
“I was familiar with the model as I’ve placed a similar facility in another community. I was quite taken with Ms. Hope and her enthusiasm, and I told her, “no problem, approved – let’s do it.”After reflecting for a day or two, I realized I had made a mistake and robbed her of an important opportunity to learn about government and process. As good fortune would have it, she came back to City Hall a few days later to tell me she wanted to reconsider the location. The Mayor and the Parks Manager happened to be in my office at the time, and she was able to articulate her vision. I told her I also had a chance to think about it, and to do it properly she would have to go to the Recreation Advisory Committee (RAC) and get their approval. If she received their endorsement, she would then need to present her idea to the Mayor and Council and ask for their consent.
In less than 90 days, Hope Brownlee came to City Hall with an idea, got approval from the RAC, presented to the Mayor and Council (a remarkable presentation without notes btw), got resources, found labor, coordinated with Parks and installed the Little Free Library outside the Puryear Building.
Anytime any of us think something can’t be done or will take too long to go through the process; I suggest we take a book out of the library. I did, and I certainly learned something today.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Groveland City Manager, visit MEET MIKE HEIN.