BUILD Grant Proposal
Grant Avenue Connect Parkway Concept
To further a community vision of creating a strong central economic vitality corridor stretching from the new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium (WOW) to Park Central Square and further north to Historic Commercial Street, the City applied for a highly-competitive federal BUILD Transportation Grant in July of 2018. BUILD stands for “Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development."
BUILD is a $1.5 billion dollar, multimodal, merit-based discretionary federal grant program that aims to support new partnerships and multi-jurisdictional cooperation, including public-private partnerships. Grant merit criteria focuses on transportation projects that improve safety and equitable access, enhance quality of life, environmental protection and innovation. Grants range from $5 to $25 million and require a 20 percent match.
The City’s Public Works and Planning & Development departments convened a multi-departmental, multi-agency team to prepare a grant proposal for an attractive corridor connecting Springfield’s vibrant downtown to the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium (WOW), with various neighborhoods, parks, greenway connections and other amenities in between. The “Grant Avenue Parkway Trail Connection Project” would also provide connectivity with an existing and heavily used trail network (Ozarks Greenways, Inc.) and was coordinated with the metropolitan planning efforts of the Ozarks Transportation Organization.
WOW was voted America’s Best Aquarium and Best New Attraction by USA Today readers. Since opening in September 2017, the estimated $300 million private investment has resulted in significantly increased hotel nights and attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. Downtown Springfield’s renaissance has been slow but steady over the past 20 years. Over a half-billion dollars of public and private investment has been made downtown since 1996. These two destinations generate a tremendous amount of economic activity and are authentic Springfield experiences for both residents and visitors. The proposed Grant Avenue Parkway Project would also alleviate traffic congestion, improve safety and accessibility and reduce environmental concerns.