Ceremony will celebrate planned Springfield Route 66 streetscape

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The City of Springfield and the West Central Neighborhood Alliance will ceremoniously break ground for the Route 66 Plaza Streetscape on College Street at Broadway Avenue at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The groundbreaking is the prelude to a full weekend of celebrations of Springfield’s claim to fame as the Birthplace of Route 66, which runs from Friday to Sunday.

This project likely will begin in October. It stretches along College from Broadway west to the Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park.

Planned improvements include a new pedestrian plaza at the
northwest corner of the intersection, crosswalks, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks, landscaping and street trees, decorative street lighting, utility improvements and on-street parking. A federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant and the voter-approved 1/4-percent Capital Improvements Sales Tax is paying for it.

During the 2015 festival, the City of Springfield’s Public Works and Planning departments, along with West Central Neighborhood Alliance residents, created a physical mock-up of what a streetscape and plaza might look like, including a clock tower.

During the annual Give Ozarks campaign in May, the West Central Neighborhood Alliance donated $3,000 toward the clock tower project, which has an estimated cost of $55,000.

The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival began in 2010 as a West Central Neighborhood car show to raise funds for improvements to the College Avenue portion of Route 66. The festival grew into a two-day car show by 2015 and drew 23,000 people to downtown Springfield.

“Springfield has really come together to try to make our downtown great again. Embracing our Route 66 history is an important part of spotlighting authentic places and experiences in Springfield,” says Rusty Worley, former president of WCNA and executive director of the Downtown Springfield Association.