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Vision 20/20 projects come into sharper focus in 1999

Posted online

by Bill Compere

for the Business Journal

Vision 20/20 is a citizen-based long-range plan for Springfield and Greene County which began in 1994. The plan was developed by 350 volunteers meeting in 12 different focus groups over a period of 18 months, for a total of more than 500 meetings and 25,000 hours.

The result of all of this effort has been, for the first time ever, the development of a comprehensive long- range plan for Springfield and Greene County.

The final plan has been developed and brought forward in various specific elements. The following such elements have been approved prior to 1999: the Parks, Open Space and Greenways Plan; the Community Physical Image and Character Plan; and the Center City Plan.

Additionally, The Economic Development Plan has been completed and is now pending before City Council; the Civic Park project has been initiated; the City-County Park Board concept has been implemented; the school-park concept has been implemented; the Center City Development Corporation has been formed; the Urban District Alliance has been reorganized; the River Bluff Parkway concept study has begun; and the center city parking layout and signage on downtown streets has been addressed.

Of course, much remains to be done in 1999 in connection with the Vision 20/20 process. There remain five other elements to be completed and brought forward, namely, the Land Use Plan Element, the Community Facilities Plan Element, the Transportation Plan Element, the Historic Preservation Plan Element and the Neighborhoods Plan Element.

The Center City Plan Element will continue to implement the formation of a business district, opening up St. Louis Street through the square, and further procedures to continue the revitalization of center city.

City and county officials have met to address future development patterns as presented in the Vision 20/20 Concept Plan. The plan recommended a revised policy for the Urban Service Area to make a better effort to control unlimited "sprawl" in the rural areas of the county.

Also in connection with this issue, the city will continue to study further annexation for the area south of the existing city limits. These issues should be agreed to and resolved in 1999.

Civic Park will most likely be the most visible Vision 20/20 activity to occur in 1999. The acquisition of the property in the 30-acre phase I, and the specifics of what will be in that area, should be evident by the end of the year.

The design for the streetscape project for Boonville Avenue, linking Center City with the Government Plaza and Commercial Street, will also be ready for implementation. Design guidelines for Civic Park and the master plan for the 250-acre Civic Park area will also be in place.

In addition to Civic Park, 1999 will also witness implementation of the Parks, Open Space and Greenways Plan Element. There will be further coordination to dedicate city- and county-owned floodplains and drainageways for greenway activities. The further coordination of the school-park concept will expand, and land acquisitions for additional parks will be studied.

Consistent will the Vision 20/20 concept of maintaining "level" property tax, there with probably be a referendum this year asking the voters to provide funds to relocate several fire stations and to acquire additional floodplains without an increase in property taxes.

There will also be further discussions on the River Bluff Parkway along the Greene County-Christian County line, to preserve a corridor for possible future traffic linkage needs.

In summary, 1999 looks like the year that many of the concepts envisioned by those 350 dedicated and civic-minded volunteers from Vision 20/20 will come to fruition. The present and future generations of Springfield and Greene County owe them a debt of gratitude for a job well done.

(Bill Compere is Vision 20/20 chairman, as well as managing partner of Compere & Robinette CPAs in Springfield.)

PHOTO CAPTION:

Bill Compere points to greenways developments in Springfield.[[In-content Ad]]

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