After multiple committee meetings, public forums and surveys, Springfield City Council on July 29 held a public hearing for an ordinance to establish a community improvement district for the Galloway Village neighborhood.
The Galloway Community Improvement District, proposed on the South Lone Pine corridor between Battlefield and Republic roads, would aim to improve public safety, image enhancement and environmental protection in the area – while serving as the policy for development, according to city documents.
Council first heard the recommendations from Planning and Development staff at a luncheon last month.
The CID proposal came days before the expiration of a 270-day moratorium on rezoning and lot combination applications in Galloway. Implemented in early November 2018, the moratorium was scheduled to expire Aug. 2.
The Galloway CID would establish a 1-cent sales tax to generate an expected $30,000-$40,000 annually. The funding would be available for approved CID projects, including construction of public parking, landscaping, safety measures, signage and lighting, and maintenance of public infrastructure.
It’s similar to the model used for the downtown and Commercial Street districts, said Sarah Kerner, Springfield’s economic development director.
“That would have to be approved by voters who live in the district if this petition is approved by City Council,” Kerner said of the proposed Galloway sales tax.
The CID petition received signatures over several months from 52% of property owners in the Galloway district who collectively own 85% of the total assessed value of its real property, Kerner said.
The district would have a 20-year life span and a governing board between five and 30 members, Kerner said. The initial board is slated to have 15 members, and successor directors would be appointed by the mayor with council consent.
One proposed member of the board, Jessica Pearson, addressed council as the first of two speakers. A representative of Galloway property owner Green Circle Projects, she worked with city staff on the petition.
“We are looking to implement equitable improvements along the district,” Pearson told council. “Those improvements would be to address public safety in terms of crosswalks. We’ve also discussed landscape improvements and parking.”
Green Circle Projects is behind Galloway’s $14 million Quarry Town mixed-use development.
The 100 apartment units are more than 90% leased in the 130,000-square-foot multifamily portion, said Green Circle spokesman Matt Wagner, via email. Quarry Town currently has three commercial tenants in Great Escape Beer Works, Patterson’s Hospitality Agents and The Rock restaurant, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. Prosperity Financial Group, which initially signed on as a tenant, backed out a few months ago, Wagner said. There’s 20,000 square feet of commercial space in the development.
Quarry Town began development in spring 2018, before the moratorium was put in place.
Next to Quarry Town, the $7.7 million Galloway Creek project spanning 46,000 square feet and a $5 million road widening project between Luster and Lone Pine avenues bring recent development totals in the area to $26 million, according to past SBJ reporting.
The Galloway CID is a long time coming for Green Circle, which drafted the petition in conjunction with city officials.
“After almost four years of working on this CID, we believe this is a fair and viable tool for enhancing the corridor over time,” Wagner said via email. “We’d love to see more functional crosswalks with higher visibility, Galloway-branded wayfinding signage and custom lighting for added security.”
The other speaker at the council meeting, Russell Rotert, was more skeptical of the proposed district.
“They were able to build all these properties under the blighted development, so for 10 years they don’t have to pay the improved property tax rate, and now they want somebody else to be responsible for the maintenance, the upkeep,” said Rotert, a Springfield resident who noted he doesn’t shop or live in the Galloway district. “Do we just keep letting these builders come to the well?”
Geoffrey Butler of BRP Architects, who last year represented an applicant for a contested rezoning request of 2700 E. Battlefield Road, said he didn’t think the moratorium would slow development in the area. The bigger issue, he said, could be developable land available.
“It’s always been kind of appealing, but now it’s bordering on overdevelopment,” he said.
During the rezoning for the Battlefield property, residents pushed back on the scope of a proposed medical office, leading to the bill being amended twice before passage Nov. 5, 2018. The anticipated buyer of the property backed out in early May, according to past SBJ reporting. The 7-acre lot is still available, currently listed for $1.75 million on LoopNet.com.
On the city’s website, officials have documented the Galloway moratorium discussions and proceedings at SpringfieldMo.gov/ourgalloway. The page, titled Our Galloway, details the public hearings and links to reports from public input.
Council is scheduled to vote Aug. 12 on the Galloway CID proposal.
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