- Abby Walden, Springfield Public Works
Large Item Pickup Program
- Josh Collins, Springfield Chamber
SDAT Downtown Housing Study
- Plus updates on ICON issues.
January 2014 Meeting Recap
Abby Walden, Springfield Public Works recycling coordinator spoke to ICON about three upcoming environmentally friendly activities:
- Hazardous waste pick-up at the Illinois State Fairgrounds
- F and W Resources large item pick-ups
- Annual Earth Day celebration
The hazardous waste drop-off will be on April 12th from 8am until noon. Public Works plans to make this an annual event.
Two residential large item pick-ups will be completed by F and W Resources each year with three items allowed each time. F and W can be reached at 528-1649. In addition, a Spring large item drop-off is also being planned. Proof of Springfield residence will be required; details of the large item initiatives will be forthcoming.
The annual Earth Day celebration will be held on Saturday, April 26th from 10am until 2pm, either Downtown, or in Lincoln Park. Environmentally friendly messages from community groups will be accepted, details will be publicized.
Abby responded to a question about publicizing the benefits derived from the $1.50 monthly recycling fee by indicating that a press release would be forthcoming.
Our second speaker at the January meeting was Josh Collins, who handles governmental relations for the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Josh summarized the recent Downtown Housing Study which was completed by Bowen National Research for the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and its community partners, Downtown Springfield Incorporated (DSI) and the Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT). The final conclusions from the study which started in summer 2013 (based on 2012 data) can be found on the websites of the Chamber, DSI and SDAT.
Bowen National Research completed a Downtown Analysis (Primary Study Area) and a City-Wide Analysis (Secondary Study Area. Among the conclusions reached by the study, the following ones stand out:
- Nearly 15,000 (30.0%) of Springfield households are cost-burdened paying over 30% of their income for housing.
- Downtown renters pay approximately 25% more rent for Market Rate Rentals than Springfieldians living elsewhere in he city.
- Downtown housing has a 99.3% occupancy rate with only nine vacant units currently available. 95% occupancy is considered optimal.
- Plenty of development sites exist in the downtown area which have the potential for resolving pent-up demand.
Following Josh’s presentation, a period of questions and discussion focused on what downtown housing projects are in the works, what types of funding mechanisms are available, and what type of downtown residents are we trying to attract. Victoria Ringer of DSI indicated that there are three downtown housing projects underway and developer interest in potential downtown projects. These projects would add an additional 130 housing units to downtown, but will need a combination of public and private funds to come to fruition. Federal tax credits, TIF funds and energy tax credits were mentioned as incentives needed to build more downtown housing
The consensus among discussion participants was that different age groups and lifestyles need to be considered when promoting downtown housing. Virtually everyone agreed that young professionals are an important element in a vibrant downtown housing market for their economic impact and the fresh ideas that they contribute to the community.
Prior to adjournment, Jen Aholt indicated that a nighttime running event and fundraiser at Oak Ridge Cemetery will take place on May 3, 2014 from 6pm until midnight. This activity will be a fundraiser for restoring the original gate at Oak Ridge prior to the 2015 Lincoln funeral reenactment.
Prepared by Marty Vandiver, ICON Secretary