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Finnie presents outline of downtown traffic priorities

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by Karen E. Culp and

Paul Flemming

SBJ Staff

Springfield City Manager Tom Finnie Nov. 18 presented a rough outline of city traffic priorities for downtown to the Special Business District Advisory Board.

Finnie concluded his presentation to the board with an exhortation for downtown leaders to take advantage of upcoming development in the area, namely Civic Park. The board, which has oversight of the city-owned parking lots in downtown, levies taxes against those property owners within the district.

"If there was ever a time when we needed to be right there and move forward unified, this is it," Finnie said. "It is time to push the envelope. We don't have time any more. We are right on the edge of terrific things. Don't miss it."

The city's traffic plans include cutting Park Central West through to College, extending Park Central East through to St. Louis, providing additional parking spaces on both sides with the resultant space that is opened up, turning Jefferson and Campbell avenues into two-way thoroughfares and general improvements to Park Central Square.

Finnie said planners have an approved plan to present to City Council on the Park Central West project. Just the street extension will cost about $300,000, not including parking improvements. He said the proposal would probably go to council in the first part of 1999.

He told the board that identifying the source of funds to complete that project, and others, was important before beginning. He said money will probably come from Community Development Block Grants as well as other sources.

"It's become increasingly obvious that it's going to take a significant amount of money," Finnie said.

Therefore, he said, undertaking projects piecemeal is the best way to go, because funding for the total plan is unlikely to come in one chunk.

"Waiting for the silver bullet is an endless wait," Finnie said. "We're much better off biting off a piece at a time."

The second bite, in Finnie's rough outline, concerned Park Central East. After the streets are extended, use of the voided space for [[In-content Ad]]


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