If you take a closer look at Springfield’s latest development, Melody Parks, you’ll find that some of the key leaders seem to have a unique tie to Springfield – whether it’s through family, educational experiences, or deep-rooted community connections. For these folks, Melody Parks isn’t just another construction project; it’s a collective effort fueled by passion, nostalgia, and a shared vision for Springfield’s future. Let’s peek behind the scenes and get to know the faces shaping Springfield’s newest gem.

Horton Hobbs: VP of Economic Development at The Greater Springfield Partnership
Raised in Springfield and a 1997 graduate of Wittenberg University, where his father served as a biology professor for over three decades, Horton Hobbs’ connection to Springfield runs deep. Through his involvement in the CIC, he created a partnership with Forty Partners in the Melody Parks development to repurpose their remaining land of approximately 200 acres.

Horton is committed to bringing market-rate housing and commercial development to the east side of the community, addressing the demand generated by recent job growth while providing housing options for existing and new residents of Clark County.

Valerie Chakeres Baker, Philip Chakeres, and Harry Chakeres: Previous Owners of the Property

These siblings were raised in Springfield, and two of the three are second generation graduates of Wittenberg University. When they, along with their mother, decided to sell the closed drive-in theater, they chose to sell it to developers who could deliver a project that will initiate new growth and new income for the east side of Springfield.

“Springfield has been a rich part of our family’s history, and we are thrilled that Melody Parks – named for our dad’s company – will continue to be a legacy site in the city that we have been so proud to call home,” said Valerie Baker.

Bill Downing: Development Manager at BORROR
As a second-generation graduate of Wittenberg University in 2015, Bill Downing has always seen Springfield as a second home. During his time at Wittenberg, Bill served as a Community Engagement Scholar with the Hagen Center for Civic and Urban Engagement, ultimately exposing him to experiences that have broadened his understanding of Springfield and fueled his passion for projects like Melody Parks.

“Springfield is a city on the rise,” says Bill, “and Melody Parks is a piece of that momentum that will build on the historic foundations of civic connection within the community.”

Anders Samuelson: Lead Civil Designer for Melody Parks
A 2008 graduate of Springfield Catholic Central, Anders Samuelson comes from a family deeply rooted in the community through their business, AG Samuelson Company, which has been shaping Springfield since 1917. As Melody Parks’ lead Civil Design Engineer, Anders manages road, utility, and earthwork design.

He infuses his work with a personal touch driven by his passion for the project’s potential to positively impact the city. For Anders, the moment he looks forward to the most is driving through the completed area after construction, when he can see his designs brought to life.


Kaileigh Pickett: VP of Portfolio Management at BORROR

Kaileigh Pickett, a 2013 Wittenberg University graduate, has a strong familial connection to Springfield, with five family members attending Witt ahead of her. Now part of BORROR’s development team for Melody Parks, Kaileigh is excited to witness the city’s growth firsthand and contribute to its future. Her enthusiasm for the project lies in the potential impact of the new housing options, offering opportunities for the community to embrace upscale living.


Russ Williamson: Melody Parks Board of Trustees Member.
Russ Williamson is a Springfield native whose parents owned The Hickory Inn, providing him with a unique perspective on the project. Currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the Melody Parks New Community Authority, Russ also previously worked for Borror alongside his wife when they lived in Columbus.

According to Russ, he “couldn’t be more excited that Borror and their affiliated partners chose Springfield for the Melody Parks development,” and is equally as thrilled to see the development take shape and all the growth that it will bring for decades to come.


Ben Perkins: Member of DiPerna & Company and Former Chakeres Theatre Employee
Ben Perkins, a member of DiPerna & Company, plays a crucial role in financing Melody Parks for BORROR, drawing from his deep roots in the Springfield community to shape his approach.

With experience at Chakeres Theatres during college and a strong familial connection to Springfield, Ben’s personal investment drives his excitement for the project’s potential to spur economic growth and provide housing options for future generations.


Lori Steiner: CEO/COO of BORROR
Lori Steiner is a 1981 graduate of Wittenberg University and leads the project’s design, zoning, branding, and builder recruitment. Her personal ties to Springfield shaped her vision for the development.

“In a lot of ways, Springfield looks as it did when I went to school here,” says Lori. “I am very excited to see this project transform the “east-end” of Springfield with fresh new places to live and more places to eat, shop, and play.”

Lori is especially thrilled about the 11 interconnected parks and ponds, which she believes will enrich the community’s outdoor experience.

Bryan Heck: Springfield’s City Manager
Bryan Heck, Springfield’s City Manager and a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Wittenberg University in 2006, has played a key role in the Melody Parks project since its inception. With a deep connection to Springfield, Bryan has navigated the complexities of development, forging a true partnership with BORROR to overcome challenges and bring the project to fruition. To Bryan, Melody Parks is a transformative endeavor, marking one of the city’s largest developments in decades.


Honoring the Legacy, Embracing the Future

As Melody Parks begins to take shape, it’s not just about buildings—it’s about honoring the legacy of Springfield’s past while embracing the promise of its future. With each brick laid and each road paved, Melody Parks embodies the shared vision for Springfield’s future. Stay tuned for more exciting developments on this project!

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