ICON spoke to the Committee of the Whole on April 29 in support of amendments to the draft Ward map to keep viable neighborhood associations within one ward. Our statement is below, along with links to a summary of the redistricting process, to the current Ward Map and to the draft ward map.
ICON statement in support of keeping neighborhood associations in a single ward
Thank you to the City of Springfield and to County Clerk Joe Aiello’s office for the response to our Freedom of Information Act request. ICON initiated the request to understand the process of creating new ward maps. As a result of the response and conversations with Joe Aiello and Norm Sims from the Regional Planning Commission, ICON better understands the hierarchy and guidelines for setting ward boundaries. ICON has two reasons to find the ward map boundaries of interest.
As a Political Action Committee, ICON will be sponsoring candidate forums in the 2015 elections for Aldermen and Mayor. We have begun the process of having potential candidates address our membership with the goal of electing City leaders who share ICON’s vision and who actively work to enhance the appeal of residential neighborhoods with intentional residential and commercial development.
A more ongoing concern is the splitting of neighborhood associations as voting blocks. Aldermen have occasionally told us they make decisions based on the number of people who contact them, and we hear things such as, “two thirds of the people who contacted me were against it and only one third were for it”. Splitting neighborhood associations could make it more difficult to find support for neighborhood issues on the City Council. And, due to the current complaint-driven process for many older neighborhood issues such as problem properties, garbage, and zoning variances, the ability of volunteer neighborhood leaders to develop a solid relationship with their alderperson is critical to maintaining neighborhood stability and making progress toward increasing the appeal of older neighborhoods as viable residential choices in the face of ongoing challenges.
Thank you to those aldermen who have worked with us on this issue and continue to support a vision of a good quality of life and a healthy city for all of Springfield’s residents.
I ask you to support amendments to the draft ward map that would keep neighborhood associations within one ward.