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Eight registered neighborhoods in Springfield will soon be seeing improvements to their parks thanks to a competitive grant made possible through the voter-approved 1/4-cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax.
In April 2016, Springfield voters overwhelmingly approved the renewal of the City’s 1/4-cent Capital Improvements Sales Tax. New to the tax this cycle is a set-aside of $500,000 annually for a neighborhood initiative program, now known as the Neighborhood Works Program.
Neighborhood Works is intended to fund small-scale capital improvements within neighborhoods, giving residents the opportunity to identify the projects they believe would offer the greatest benefit to their neighborhoods.
Because funding is limited, a competitive application process was established using specific evaluation criteria. Individual projects were limited to a maximum cost of $100,000, and only officially registered neighborhood associations could apply after attending a mandatory application workshop. All projects were also required to be located on City property or right-of-way.
Submitted applications were assessed by City staff for feasibility and cost, then passed to a special committee formed by the Neighborhood Advisory Council for scoring and award recommendations. City Manager Greg Burris approved the committee’s final recommendations and announced the projects approved for funding at the May NAC meeting.
The following neighborhood projects were approved for funding in 2017:
Tom Watkins Park Improvements - Tom Watkins Neighborhood
The project consists of improvements to increase functionality of the park including the installation of four new lights placed in the central area of the park, the installation of new disc golf tee pads and disc golf course and tee signs and drainage improvements west of the Tom Watkins Community Center.
Lafayette Park Improvements - Woodland Heights Neighborhood
Improvements include the addition of solar lighting for the tennis court and the installation of electrical outlets on the east side of the Charlie Norr Community Center, the west side of the tennis court and near the pavilion.
L.A. Wise Park Improvements - Bissett Neighborhood
The project includes the installation of a 30’ x 40’ pavilion with picnic tables and the installation of lighting and electrical service at the pavilion.
Washington Park Improvements - Midtown Neighborhood
This project includes maintenance to the existing basketball and tennis courts. Improvements to the basketball court include the sealing of cracks, a new asphalt overlay, new striping and the installation of a new basketball goal and backboard. The tennis court will receive a new asphalt overlay with new surface and striping and new posts and net will be installed. Permanent bench seating will also be installed on the sides of both courts.
Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park Enhancements - West Central Neighborhood
This project consists of the installation of picnic tables and park benches within the Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park.
Grant Beach Park Improvements - Grant Beach Neighborhood
This project includes new electrical service and lighting installed at the park pavilion. In addition, new wood poles with sports lights will be installed and two existing sport light fixtures will be replaced on the sports field.
Phelps Grove Park Parking Lot Improvements - Phelps Grove Neighborhood
This project includes improvements to and expansion of parking on the east side of Phelps Grove Park to improve traffic flow for safety of drivers and pedestrians. Cracks on the existing asphalt will be repaired and a new asphalt overlay will be provided. Improvements will include new striping and handicap parking symbols and signs. In addition, curb for two islands will be installed along Virginia Avenue.
Giboney Cave Electrical Upgrades – Doling Neighborhood
This project includes improvements within Doling Park with electrical upgrades at the entrance to Giboney Cave to accommodate a sound system and lighting for events such as Concert at the Cave.
Two additional projects were recommended as alternates to be funded if costs for the base projects are completed under budget.
West Avenue Sidewalk Addition - Westside Neighborhood
Construction of a sidewalk on the south half of the 200 block of South West Avenue, between Walnut Street and the alley to the north.
Pavilion Upgrades at Doling Park - Doling Neighborhood
Installation of electrical upgrades at the pavilion in Doling Park.
The application process for the next Neighborhood Works grant cycle will begin in the fall.
For more information on the Neighborhood Works Program, contact Director of Public Information and Civic Engagement Cora Scott at 417-864-1009 or 417-380-3352 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on parks, contact Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-874-2943 (desk) or 417-224-5510 (mobile) or email Jenny Edwards.
Pictured left to right are Joe Roberds, Westside Betterment Neighborhood Association; Fred Ackley, Doling Neighborhood Association; Eric Pauly, Phelps Grove Neighborhood Association; Anita Kuhns, Grant Beach Neighborhood Association; Becky Volz, Woodland Heights Neighborhood Association; Marti Mowery, Tom Watkins Neighborhood Association; Alia Lee and Marie Wood, Midtown Neighborhood Association.