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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
With the completion of the Kearney Street Corridor Study by PGAV Planners in May, the City of Springfield is now seeking input on the redevelopment plan for the three-mile stretch of Kearney between Kansas Expressway and Glenstone Avenue.
The City will host its second public meeting for the Kearney Street Redevelopment Plan 5:30-7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 25 at Robberson Community School, 1100 E. Kearney.
Zone 1 Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson, a longtime Kearney Street proponent, and Zone 2 Councilman Tom Prater will lead the meeting.
“Thanks in large part to the enthusiasm of my Zone 1 colleague, Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson, we’re hoping to spur a business renaissance on Kearney Street,” Prater said. “I can’t wait to see what’s next for this once-thriving part of our city.”
The focus of the second public meeting will be to present a draft of the plan and gather public input. City staff hopes the plan will be approved by early 2018. If approved, property owners who build or remodel properties along Kearney Street in a way that meets the plan’s requirements will be eligible for 10 years of property tax abatement on the value of the new construction or improvements.
“The purpose of this plan is to have the Kearney Street corridor primed for redevelopment,” Economic Development Director Sarah Kerner explains (explained?). “We want to streamline the incentive process to get developers interested in this part of town, as well as make the incentive available for existing businesses and property owners in the area.”
Next steps for the plan include consideration by the five-member Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority. Once the LCRA has approved the plan, the next stop is the nine-member Planning and Zoning Commission. Once P&Z has recommended approval of the plan, it will go before City Council as a two-reading bill with a public hearing.
PGAV presented its final report to City Council in June. Among the key findings is the Kearney Street corridor has the potential to capture additional retail sales from the available $95 million in unmet household demand in the trade area around Kearney Street.
PGAV stated that the area could attract a deep value clothing retailer such as T.J. Maxx or Ross because these discounted fashion chains have had growing sales and are opening hundreds of stores while they capture market share from flagging retailers.
Another recommendation is a food hall that would serve as a business incubator for entrepreneurs and provide a place for people to enjoy a variety of prepared foods in a social setting. Food halls have been a growing trend in urban redevelopment, filling in empty big box stores or vacant department stores. Other ideas for the food and beverage sector include a food truck court and the adaptive reuse of garages or gas stations into restaurants.
PGAV suggested that the City commemorate the corridor’s heritage through historic Route 66 plaques and branding as well as capitalizing on the nostalgia for cruising, custom cars and drive-in restaurants.
To improve the corridor’s visual appeal and increase safety for pedestrians, PGAV recommended painted pedestrian crosswalks, pedestrian crossing signals and tree plantings in center medians or along sidewalks. Crosswalks could also increase residential connectivity to Doling Park, which is a major asset for the area. Wayfinding signage directing visitors and residents to Doling Park was proposed as well.
In a historic reversal, City Council voted last spring to once again allow cruising along Kearney Street on the second Friday of each month in hopes of drawing visitors – and business – to the area. Hundreds turned out for the Cruise Kearney! kick-off in May.
For more information, please contact Senior Planner Olivia Hough at 417-864-1092 or [email protected] or Director of Public Information and Civic Engagement Cora Scott at 417-864-1009 or 417-380-3352.