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New Life on Commercial Street

Commercial Street once a main road in Springfield has for many lost its charm and gained a new identity.

The city of Springfield Development Board and local shopkeepers are looking to restore the charm and give the street a new look.

KSMU's Erika Brame reports.

The city of Springfield is looking to local and private investors to help remodel Commercial Street.

Contract Development Specialist, Mike MacPherson, says the city is using taxes from the area to fund a public infrastructure project that will redevelop the street.

He says this redevelopment plan will jump start this district.

"This redevelopment plan and recreating this district will help to accelerate the redevelopment activity. So we're very hopeful and believe that it will help the area redevelop at an accelerated rate."

The rebuilding of Commercial Street faces hard times with the stigmas that it carries of being unsafe.

Lyle Foster owner of Big Momma's a coffee shop on Commercial Street is excited about changing people's perceptions about the street.

"It's a huge stigma of this street. I come from a big city so to me and I hope I am not sounding naïve; I do not really worry about safety. I will use the word I am aware but actually I have found this area to be safer than many other districts in the city."

Foster also says he doesn't mind sharing Commercial Street with homeless shelters.

Foster says he fit right in with his unique neighbors.

"Oh we get along fine of course. This is like a family on Commercial Street."

This project for the street is funded by Tax Increment Financing.

That funding was approved by City Council on Monday.

For KSMU' News I'm Erika Brame.