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City hosts 2nd public meeting for Kearney redevelopment plan

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City of Springfield officials last night hosted a second public meeting for the Kearney Street redevelopment plan, calling on property owners to build or remodel along the corridor in exchange for tax incentives.

At Robberson Community School, 1100 E. Kearney St., city staff presented the draft of the plan to gather public input. The action follows the completion in May of a $100,000 corridor study of the heart of Kearney Street – the 5.5 miles between Kansas Expressway and Glenstone Avenue — by St. Louis-based Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets Inc.

Springfield Senior Planner Olivia Hough presented the plans last night to about 35 Springfield residents. The first meeting on Aug. 24 drew 55 residents.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for Kearney,” Hough told Springfield Business Journal this morning. “There are many properties for sale and good traffic flow.”

Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets’ study found the Kearney Street corridor has the potential to capture additional retail sales of up to $95 million.

Through the redevelopment plan, property owners who build or remodel along the corridor are eligible for 10 years of property tax abatement on the value of new construction or improvements.

“(The plan) is very streamlined,” Hough said. “Developers would not have to do their own blight study and redevelopment plan.”

She said developers’ interest has been piqued. Participants in the meetings have made suggestions ranging from grocery stores to family-friendly entertainment.

“I talked to two people last night who are interested in using the incentive,” Hough said. “We’re confident we’ll have applicants at the first of the year.”

The plan would exclude commercial uses such as adult stores or theaters, emergency overnight shelters, pawn shops or self-storage facilities. In addition, the plan includes landscaping and infrastructure requirements.

Next steps for the Kearney redevelopment plan include consideration by the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, Hough said. Once the LCRA has approved the plan, it will move to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. If approved by P&Z, it will head to City Council council with a public hearing before a vote.

“It’s very likely it will go to council at one of their December meetings,” Hough said, adding applications can be submitted as soon as the plan’s in motion.

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