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The plan envisions ecological improvements to Lake Springfield and development of recreational, cultural and natural amenities.
SBJ file
The plan envisions ecological improvements to Lake Springfield and development of recreational, cultural and natural amenities.

CU board accepts Lake Springfield study, forwards it to council

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The Board of Public Utilities, which governs City Utilities of Springfield, has voted to accept the Lake Springfield study introduced last year and forward it to City Council.

The plan capitalizes on Lake Springfield and surrounding natural amenities – 1,000 acres, all owned by CU – and offers a vision that would expand the city’s entertainment, hospitality, adventure and conservation offerings, Springfield Business Journal previously reported.

The 18-month study, which cost $1 million, was led by engineering and consulting firm Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc., according to a news release. Steve Prange, vice president of CMT, previously said the plan's purpose is to jump-start private innovation at the site.

Council now is slated to consider whether to approve the study at its April 8 meeting.

"Acceptance of the Lake Springfield plan by the Board of Public Utilities and Springfield City Council does not imply the approval of any specific section or use that is outlined," CU officials said in the release. "Several additional phases will be required to explore funding alternatives, partner collaboration and strategic planning using the Lake Springfield plan to assist in determining the best uses of the property for the community."

CU spokesperson Joel Alexander said the acceptance of the Lake Springfield study by the Board of Public Utilities and council is a procedural move that would pave the way for next steps.

“The steps after that would be to evaluate and research the possibilities that have been brought forward from the Lake Springfield plan study,” Alexander said via email. “There are still several steps to take before any final decisions are made.”

At the 1,000-acre property, officials are considering a redevelopment of the Lake Springfield and James River Power Station area. The proposed $1 billion master plan was unveiled to the public in October 2023, according to past reporting. Among the plan’s ideas are so-called “eco islands" that would be joined by elevated boardwalks that are part of a 3-mile trail system.

Options in the plan also call for the utilization of the mostly decommissioned James River Power Station facility for an entertainment district or an adventure hub.

The study was funded by a one-time grant of $800,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and $200,000 from the Hatch Foundation, CU and the city of Springfield, according to the release.

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