City of Springfield asks for input on the future of Commercial Street

Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 9:53 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield leaders are planning for the future of all of Springfield, and are focusing on one of the city’s most historic districts. Officials are asking for residents, business owners and shoppers to fill out a survey about how they want to see the area continue to move all of Springfield forward.

“We’re not just a C-Street community, we’re a Springfield community," said business owner Joseph Gidman.

Gidman has owned businesses along Commercial Street for eight years. He said, in that time, the area has become a bit of a destination for tourists.

“There’s been such a big focus on just making it more beautiful, more inviting, so you want to spend the day up here," he said.

Gidman said his section of the city sometimes seems a little disconnected from the rest of the community. He hopes that will change.

“We want more bike paths and more public art and more walking trails that actually bring people from our parks, through downtown, through other neighborhoods and right up here to Commercial Street,” he said.

It’s perspectives like Gidman’s that officials hope to hear before building the basis of whatever is next for Springfield. Randall Whitman is a senior planner for the city. He said the last comprehensive plan was made in the year 2000, called Vision 2020. The next plan is Forward SGF.

“Obviously they get into the development aspects like job creation, infrastructure funds and things like that, but by and large we look at zoning, land use, transportation, parks," Whitman said.

Basically, he said, comprehensive plans take a hard look at anything that affects the city’s growth. Commercial Street might be one of the oldest parts of Springfield, but it’s one that has seen a lot of momentum in the last several years, and Whitman hopes a survey will tell the city what merchants, shoppers and residents want to see next.

He said COVID-19 has made this part of planning more challenging because there are fewer opportunities to meet with people in person. He said that’s why surveys are so important.

“It’s really just kind of analyzing the local market and how far that goes out from Commercial Street and how we can impact that and affect that over the course of the next 20 years," he said.

Business owners like Gidman just want to share their oasis with the rest of Springfield for decades to come.

“This is a historic district that belongs to the city as a whole, so everybody has a say in how it grows and develops," Gidman said.

The Commercial Street survey will be available till Dec. 4.

The city is asking for input on other key areas as well, including housing, transportation, art and parks.

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