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As Springfield continues to be an area of growth, city planners are always looking for new and innovative ways of improving the area. KSMU’s Justin Lux takes a look at a new strategic plan that will use public feedback to improve Springfield.
In an attempt to update Springfield’s Vision 20/20 strategic plan of years past, the city has been assembling a new broad-based, community wide plan for almost a year.
Using more than 230 volunteers, the city was able to come up with a 20-year vision along with a more immediate and detailed five-year action plan.
After collecting the information and visiting with community groups, 13 chapters were created for areas of improvement, with each having their own committee. Those topics range from culture and tourism to early childhood development and even progressive city management.
Mark McNay is the co-chair of the strategic planning coordinating committee. He says the committees had free reign with creativity, but with one caveat.
“You have to try to figure out funding sources if their initiatives will require funding. I think it has kind of tethered people a little bit more to the realities that we face today, which is funding is going to be difficult,” McNay says.
While McNay understands funding will be difficult in an economic climate such as this, he says there’s been reason for optimism.
“By relying on a lot of the inner-relationships between these chapters and the strength of collaboration in our community, we’ve found that a lot of these things I think can be accomplished with little or know additional funding initiatives,” says McNay.
To get the public’s feedback on what they think Springfield should become, the city will hold an open house this Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at the Mediacom Ice Park. Representatives from all 13 planning committees will be available to answer questions and take suggestions.
To get a sample of what random Springfield residents thought about long-term planning, we took our microphone downtown.
Local resident Elizabeth Brown has long thought Springfield could improve the museums around town.
“The history museum. Is it ever open? Anytime I’ve ever been by it’s never open. The windows are dusty,” says Brown.
Brown says the history museum, as well as the art museum, are essential parts of the city.
“It just shows the culture of the city and helps people learn about other culture,” she says.
Others see downtown Springfield as a major resource that could be used to improve the city’s economy. John McQueary says he and his wife are passionate about the development of downtown.
“It has a lot to offer everybody. It’s even beyond restaurants and bars. I like the fact that there have been more offices down here and some growth in retail too,” he says.
Each of the planning committees tries to keep four themes in mind when developing ideas. Those themes are regionalism, sustainability, civic engagement and minimizing poverty.For a list of all 13 chapters visit www.springfieldmo.gov/strategicplan and click on “Create.”
For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.