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IDEA Commons added to city's comprehensive plan

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The 88-acre IDEA Commons was added to the Springfield Comprehensive Plan after its council bill received unanimous approval Monday night from Springfield City Council.

"Staff has been working with the community to develop a plan for IDEA Commons,” said Matt Schaefer, Springfield senior planner.

IDEA Commons is a Missouri State University concept designed to bring together innovation, design, entrepreneurship and the arts. It also is intended to redevelop a portion of center city into a research park.

Schaefer said two public forums have been held, as well as a meeting with stakeholders. Plans and studies taken into consideration include the Springfield-Greene County Comprehensive Plan, the Jordan Valley Park concept plan and design guidelines, the Jordan Creek feasibility study and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad reconfiguration plan.

IDEA Commons is bordered by Chestnut Expressway on the north, Mill and Water streets on the south, Campbell Avenue on the west and the BNSF railroad on the east.

"The plan consists of two components,” Schaefer said. “The first component is a background report which details the historic background on development activities within IDEA Commons. It also provides an analysis of existing conditions, development challenges and opportunities.”

Schaefer said the the report is the basis for the recommendations.

"The area remains encumbered by environmental deficiencies,” Schaefer said. “The plan recommends action to make the area more conducive to private investment.”

The four areas of improvement for IDEA Commons are: infrastructure improvements, environmental remediation, improved land use regulations and economic development incentives.

Other aspects include encouragement of mixed-use areas, improvement of access and safety for pedestrians and offering high-quality building and design.

Stephanie Stenger-Montgomery, of Ron Stenger LLC, and a participant in the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce community leadership visit to Springfield, spoke in favor of the proposal at Monday’s meeting. The group toured IDEA Commons, and she said the visit was a highlight of the event.

"We had over 70 community leaders looking at the assets of Springfield and what we think are the possible future economic tools in our city,” Montgomery said. “Surprisingly, of the 70 of us, a lot of us had not been to IDEA Commons. In terms of economic development, work force development, the IDEA Commons is really something we can look at and hopefully grow.”

Councilman Doug Burlison asked Schaefer how the plan addresses the half of IDEA Commons in a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood plain.

Schaefer said the Jordan Valley Feasibility Study is being conducted by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the City of Springfield to reduce the flood plain’s size.
MSU acquired the MFA mill within IDEA Commons in 2005 and began development of an urban research park. The IDEA Commons plan was adopted in 2008 by MSU and the city.

"The goal of IDEA commons is to create a vibrant, mixed-use community,” Schaefer said. “That is the model – for sustained development that complements MSU and supports Jordan Valley.”[[In-content Ad]]


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