Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan was selected as the 2015 Nappie award winner for Hardest Working Elected Official on the Eastern Shore. McMillan has been mayor of one of Baldwin County’s fastest-growing cities since 2012, when he ran for the position unopposed.
A Mobile native who moved to Spanish Fort in the 1980s, McMillan is a member of the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Board, the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance board and an ex-officio member of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce.Before becoming mayor, McMillan served on the Spanish Fort City Council for eight years, on the city’s planning commission, on the board responsible for attracting the Eastern Shore Centre and as chairman of United Way of North Baldwin County.
McMillan and his wife, Patricia, have two daughters and a grandson.
After a July 15 MPO meeting, the mayor said he was surprised and honored to be recognized and credited Spanish Fort’s administrative staff and others for the city’s success.
“My part-time job is a lot more than part time,” McMillan, who also has a full-time job, said. “I am proud of our city. The support of our council and our city employees is the only way you can make it work.”
The mayor said it is a period of robust growth in Spanish Fort, with the 36,000-square-foot Spanish Fort Community Center set to open later this summer and various recreation expansion projects in the works. The community center, located at the corner of Spanish Fort Boulevard and Blakeley Way, has been in McMillan’s sights since he took office in 2012. It will house the city’s administrative offices, municipal court, senior center, library and more.
McMillan says Spanish Fort city officials have been able to use fiscally conservative financial practices to fund projects like the community center, which has cost more than $7 million. The city put down a $3.3 million down payment for the center, which McMillan said helped it to qualify for the equivalent of a 15-year house note for the project.
He said the community center will allow the city’s administrative staff to move out of a cramped and outdated city hall building and make it easier to schedule and host council meetings and municipal court. Currently, the City Council meet in a tiny room at City Hall for work sessions, then drive to the Prodisee Pantry Gathering Place for meetings. He also said the community center will increase safety and efficiency on municipal court nights.
The city also recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a new playground and splash pad at the Spanish Fort Town Center, a project also expected to reinforce the center’s image as a family destination. McMillan said a handful of other projects will help ease the burden a rapidly expanding population places on the city.
“We have been quite busy in Spanish Fort,” he said. “There is a lot going on here. We should be able to begin to move into the new Community Center in August. We have a lot of projects going on with parks and recreation, repaving roads, stormwater management. We stay busy, and we are very proud of where we are and where we are going.”