Added: Delaine Bohl - Date: 18.04.2022 06:50 - Views: 31390 - Clicks: 2183
The city of Springfield is getting ready to embark on a major project — developing a new map that will set the trajectory of the city's future. For city leaders, a new map could mean a chance to elevate Springfield's reputation in the country — to make it into a place that will grow and prosper and become a destination for tourists and new residents alike. The map is called the comprehensive plan.
It outlines policy guidelines about how the city uses its land, invests in capital improvements and more. The comprehensive plan shapes the physical look and layout of the city, and Springfield is overdue for a new one. It was updated in Councilman Richard Ollis has been one particularly vocal proponent of developing a new comprehensive plan.
This needs to be front and center of what we focus on and what we do," Ollis said during a meeting in October. I think we have the ability to become one of the major mid-sized cities in the United States. I think a comprehensive plan, coupled with a strategic vision, can catapult us forward. The contours of the map of Springfield's future have not yet been drafted. The city's Department of Planning and Development has been ramping up to this point for nearly two years now, but creation of the new comprehensive plan is still in its infancy.
Springfield has a lot of work to do.
The development of a new comprehensive plan is expected to take 18 to 24 months and will require extensive input from the public. The city is currently in the process of trying to find a consultant to help coordinate the effort, according to Randall Whitman, a principal planner for the city of Springfield who is overseeing the development of a new comprehensive plan.
A major project means major money. Whitman said during the October meeting that consultants, who have done similar work in the past, can provide "organizational guidance. Springfield is in a state of transition, Whitman said. He's talking about an identity crisis of sorts — is Springfield a small town or a metropolitan city?
The city wants to hear from residents about their ideas and dreams for Springfield's future.
What do you want the city to look like in 20 years? Some examples: Should the city annex more property and continue to grow outwards? Or should redevelopments be concentrated in the city's center, creating more density for an urban feel? How should redevelopment be encouraged without disrupting neighborhoods' unique characteristics? Public input is key, Whitman said. There will be town hall meetings, online and paper surveys, outreach via social media and polls. City staff members will review the public's answers, analyze data and study Springfield's demographics.
The goal, at the end of 24 months, is to have a new plan that will reflect the collective community's goals. Councilman Ollis said he personally would like to see Springfield become a more "walkable" community, similar to Bentonville, Arkansas or Oklahoma Springfield more future.
That means more ro with sidewalks, bike lanes and flowers, as well as destinations, such as storefronts. He also wants more areas in town to feel like the corner of Pickwick Avenue and Cherry Street — an eclectic commercial district with small businesses and eateries nestled in Rountree neighborhood. He says people are moving out of major metropolitan areas, where the cost of living has skyrocketed. They are looking for areas that are affordable, comfortable and have good high-paying jobs. That could be Springfield, he said. What the city needs is the "planning, vision and development to create places where people want to live, work, raise families and even retire," Ollis said.
The city already has some things going for it, Ollis said, noting the Ozarks' natural beauty, low cost of living and Springfield's major companies, including Bass Pro Shops, the health systems and O'Reilly Auto Parts. Springfield needs to focus on reducing crime, improving the conditions of the neighborhoods and training workers, he said. Let's not just react to what comes our way," Ollis said. Ollis said those are just some of his personal goals for the city, and it will be up to members of the community to ultimately decide where Springfield's new map will lead the city.
There's a land use chapter which looks at things like how sidewalks should exist in relation to buildings and how city-owned property, such as parks and government property, interacts with private land.
There are other chapters for parks, housing and more. The plan outlined the vision for a "true urban park Another goal was to create strong neighborhoods that have a clear line of communication with the city. Out of that goal came the neighborhood program and the creation of neighborhood associations. Now Springfield has 18 officially registered neighborhoods and 34 service areas, according to Whitman.
The city is technically required to review the comprehensive plan every five years to make sure it's up to date; however, a combination of lack of resources and changing priorities have prevented a major update from happening in about 15 years, Whitman said. When the Great Recession hit, Springfield eliminated a long-range planning team that was responsible for overseeing to the comprehensive plan, among other things. Those employees transitioned to other positions within the department.
Inthe city began preparing for development of a new plan in earnest. A reorganization of the Planning and Development department brought back the long-range planning division, of which Whitman is a key member. The city is now looking for a consultant to help develop the city's new comprehensive plan. A request for proposals, posted on Nov. There's a list of 15 suggested provided as a foundation that the city wants the consultant to study. The end result might be different.
Facebook Twitter. A map for Springfield's future, long overdue, will set the city on a new path. Alissa Zhu Springfield News-Leader.Springfield more future
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City of Springfield, Illinois