2012 Year in Review

On May 15, Parks and Public Works dedicated a $5 million project rebuilding retaining walls and bridges on Fassnight Creek, while retaining the historic look of the 1920's-era park. Improvements include flooding and erosion control as well as  a new section of the Fassnight Creek Greenway trail. The Oct. 31 Trick-Art-Treat event at the Springfield Art Museum combined fun arts and crafts activities for children with pumpkin carving and decorating by local artists. Families created scary, monster art inspired by Pablo Picasso, and enjoyed a performance of 'Thriller' on the museum parking lot by Springfield Little Theater's Yes Troupe. Parks celebrated the inaugural season at the Bobby & Betty Allison Miracle League Ball Field  April 16. Built especially to help players with physical or developmental disabilities, the ⅓-size field features a barrier-free cushioned synthetic surface, easy to maneuver with wheelchairs and walkers and by players with gait issues. Miracle Field is the first of its kind in the area. On August 6, the ribbon was cut on a new Public Safety Center which houses Springfield-Greene County 911 and the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management. The building also includes an Emergency Operations Center, from which more than 70 federal, state and local response agencies may coordinate and sustain 24/7 operations during a disaster event. Springfield became the first city in Missouri to begin using online plan review for developers, a system the City has named ePlans. One of several benefits of the software, purchased in partnership with City Utilities, is the ability for plans to be submitted electronically, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 2012 Turkey Trot continued a five-year growing streak with 9,007 registered participants, up 12 percent from 2011. The largest 5K in Springfield raises money for the Developmental Center of the Ozarks and the Park Board's Scholarship Fund. It also serves as the largest one-day food drive for Ozarks Food Harvest. Very pleasant November weather brought a large crowd out for the annual Festival of Lights kick-off and lighting of the Mayor's Christmas tree. A highlight at this event was Santa and Mrs. Clause arriving on board a historical fire truck driven by Fire Chief David Hall. A new, $5,277,000 modern training facility opened for the City's police and fire departments and is accessible to public safety departments around the region. For the first time, all of these facilities will be in one place and located next to classrooms, so that academy recruits and current employees can move quickly from classroom to practical training. Greene County Commissioner Harold Bengsch and Reptile Keeper Craig Hunter help Casey the Aldabra Tortoise 'chomp' the ribbon at the October 11 dedication of Dickerson Park Zoo's Tortoise House, as Mayor Bob Stephens and Park Board Chair John Price look on. The ribbons were tied to either end of a tasty carrot, of which Casey willingly took a bite. The Missouri Career Center celebrated their new facility, in the renovated, former Price Cutter grocery store at Southern Hills. The expanded facility will allow better service to the community by offering access to additional computers, space for evening events, and better customer access to resources. Parks opened the newly-renovated Westport Pool on May 24, kicking off a record-breaking outdoor pool season, with attendance rising 10.4 percent over 20122 to 98,330. Attendance was strong at all outdoor pools, but it more than doubled at Westport, the fourth outdoor pool to be renovated in as many years. The City opened the area's only Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station at its Public Works Operation Center, 1111 W. Chestnut Expressway. CNG is a clean-burning, high-octane fuel that produces 60-90% less pollutants and 30-40% less greenhouse gas emissions than either gasoline or diesel fuels, thus providing for cleaner air to breathe. Nearly 70 community members attended FEMA's Integrated Emergency Management course, dubbed 'Disaster Camp,' in July. Instructors praised Springfield and Greene County for being among the top three, best-prepared communities in the country. Public Works Director Phil Broyles was recognized, May 21, by the American Public Works Association as one of the Top Ten Public Works Leaders in America. APWA annually recognizes ten of the most outstanding public works professionals from across the U.S. and Canada for their career-long dedication and service, professionalism, and expertise in public works infrastructure. Public Information produced a number of fun, creative public service announcements to promote being a good neighbor.  Topics such as neighborhood speeding, noise, trash, and keeping dogs quiet were presented through a lively cast of characters. On August 7 Springfield's first citywide National Night Out celebrated the culmination of year-long crime prevention activity in our neighborhoods: people working together to prevent and address crime and other neighborhood problems. It also promoted healthy neighborhoods and encouraged people to get out and get to know one another. Bobbi Ullman, Manager, Training Sites and Community Partnerships at United States Olympic Committee, tries her hand at archery during the Community Olympic Development Committee conference held in Springfield, October 2012. Archery is one of four CODP sports offered through the Park Board, along with ice hockey, tennis and volleyball.