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In an interview with SBJ Editor Eric Olson, right, Abe McGull discusses the positive aspects of Springfield that should be promoted to draw more business activity.
SBJ photo by Christine Temple
In an interview with SBJ Editor Eric Olson, right, Abe McGull discusses the positive aspects of Springfield that should be promoted to draw more business activity.

Councilperson McGull: Springfield 'on the cusp of something great'

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Springfield City Council member Abe McGull this morning issued a call for the city government and business community to step up efforts to draw in more economic activity.

Speaking as Springfield Business Journal's 12 People You Need to Know guest for August, McGull said the city is "right on the cusp of something great."

"We have the infrastructure here. We have the quality of life here, as well as the cost of living," he said during the livestreamed interview with SBJ Editor Eric Olson. "We have to do a little more to make ourselves a little more packageable and attractive."

McGull said the promotion of existing assets, such as outdoor activities, factors in to the city's marketability. Development tax incentives also are an important tool, though he said the use of such incentives "should be more of a strategic approach on a case-by-case basis."

Development incentives came into play in June, when council approved a $4.8 million deal to bring Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq: COST) to the market.

To attract other national companies, he said the city must work to ensure its workforce is adaptable and that there are enough households to support them. During the interview, he teased a "very positive announcement" slated to come in the next 30 days.

An area the city must grow in is inclusivity, he said. The downtown Springfield Black Lives matter protest this summer, he said, was proof that hunger exists for a more diverse city and workforce.

"It is a work in progress ... but it is an emphasis," he said of council's work on the issue. "Social injustice is on our radar."

McGull pointed to council's recent approval of body cameras for Springfield Police Department officers, an initiative funded by the quarter-cent capital improvement sales tax. He also said the municipality is considering the hire of an inclusivity expert or director who would "look at the decisions we're making on a daily basis."

"This is a beautiful place, and it is the kind of place that future citizens would love to live, work and play in," he said. "We've got to make it better."

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