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On this edition of the KSMU Sense of Community Series, Mike Smith talks with Urban Districts Alliance representatives Brian Fogle and Barb Baker, each a current and founding member of the organization, and also with current UDA Board President Link Knauer, and Executive Director Rusty Worley.
The Urban Districts Alliance was first formed in the early 1990's. The Center City Plan Element of Vision 20/20 (Springfield/Greene County's citizen based comprehensive long-range plan) completed in 1997, resulted in the creation of UDA as it is known today.
Prior to that time, at least three separate Center City organizations worked independent of each other, with occasional competing agendas. UDA was formed to serve as an umbrella organization for all of these Center City organizations and coordinates their efforts into one consolidated, cooperative effort.
The UDA has received a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service and provides leadership, program management and innovation to undertake programs including, but not limited to:
- Advocacy to advance Urban Districts interests
- Planning to establish and implement a shared vision
- Acting as a development catalyst, including packaging, assisting and/or developing projects
- Management of the urban environment, including security, maintenance and marketing
As a Center City Management Organization, UDA focuses its programs and services in four functional areas:
- Small Business Support
- Community Development
- Marketing and Promotion
- Advocacy and Leadership
The specific responsibilities of UDA are to:
- Continue to implement the Center City Element of Vision 20/20
- Provide support for the Jordan Valley Park Advisory Committee
- Assist the Springfield Finance and Development Corporation, which provides loans to Center City businesses
- Manage First Night Springfield, Artsfest and Cider Days on Walnut Street events
- Manage the Community Improvement District activities making downtown cleaner, safer and friendlier.
Urban Districts Alliance is a non-profit community development corporation, providing leadership, programs and services to preserve and strengthen the economic vitality of Center City and each of its distinctive historic business districts.
The Center City Plan of Vision 20/20 proposed development of a strong public/private partnership to form a community development organization to lead private and public investments and leverage real estate improvements and business promotion.