Tell Us Who Should Receive This Year’s DSI Awards

Every year during our Annual Dinner & Awards, Downtown Springfield Inc. recognizes the business owners in the downtown area who are leading the way to a busy, friendly, bold, entertaining and coveted neighborhood.

The first step in the nomination process comes from YOU. Log your suggestions using our online survey tool>

We’ll announce the 2019 recipients at the Annual Dinner on January 16, 2020.

Review the recipients over the years here.

This 27th Annual Dinner will be held at the Wyndham City Centre and we’re taking downtown back to its Roaring 20’s. Tickets will be available soon for DSI’s largest fundraiser of the year. This is one celebration you won’t want to miss!

Monthly Indoor Farmers Markets Start Saturday

Shoppers can find the perfect Illinois wine for their holiday table as part of the indoor Markets.

Springfield shoppers can still find locally grown, high-quality products during the winter months at one of six indoor Holiday/Winter Markets hosted by Downtown Springfield Inc. and made possible by HSHS St. John’s Hospital and other generous sponsors.

These cold-weather markets were started by Illinois Stewardship Alliance, who turned them over to DSI in 2019 under our Old Capitol Farmers Market umbrella, as we work to grow the demand for a year-round Farmers Market in downtown Springfield.

The first indoor Market is this Saturday, November 23rd from 9 am – noon, and there is one indoor Market each month through April. This year’s location is Anvil & Forge on 619 E Washington Street, which offers approximately 6,000 square feet for each Market, a much larger space than we have been able to utilize downtown previously.

The November and December, or “Holiday” Markets, are perfect for prepping for your holiday gatherings. With 35 vendors, shoppers can check out five meat vendors, five bakeries and eleven produce farms and more. Farm-fresh products include pasture-raised meats, eggs, honey, cheese, greens, carrots, potatoes, turnips, radishes, apples, and winter squashes. Regionally-produced baked goods, Illinois wine, craft beer, coffee, and other unique local gifts are also available.

Find out if what you’re shopping for is available at the next indoor Market

Another happy customer!

While it’s often believed that farmers in central Illinois aren’t able to grow produce throughout the winter, advances in season-extension technology, such as hoop houses, have given farmers the ability to continue to grow products even in sub-freezing environments. Some crops, like spinach and kale, actually benefit from the colder temperatures, producing more sugars and a sweeter flavor.

THANKSGIVING TURKEY PRE-ORDERS

Customers looking to pick up a Thanksgiving turkey can pre-order from Garden Gate Farm. The turkeys are pasture-raised with non-GMO feed and range in size between 11 and 24 lbs. They are priced at $4.00/lb. and can be ordered via email or by phone 815-848-3518.

DOUBLE VALUE LINK PROGRAM

LINK cards are accepted, and the Double Value Program offered by the Old Capitol Farmers Market is still available thanks to grants from the State Treasurer’s Charitable Trust Program and LinkUp Illinois. LINK recipients will receive a $25 match to use on fresh fruits and vegetables. This means LINK recipients can swipe their card for $25 and receive an additional $25 to use on produce, doubling their purchasing power and making wholesome holiday meals available to families across Springfield.

PARKING

Parking is free on the streets of downtown Springfield during the indoor markets and the parking garage next to the Convention Center is one block away.

UPCOMING DATES

The indoor Market dates are: Saturday, December 21; Saturday, January 18; Saturday, February 15; Saturday, March 21; and Saturday, April 18.

MADE POSSIBLE BY GENEROUS SPONSORS

The Old Capitol Farmers Market is a free, 12 month activity that is organized by Downtown Springfield Inc., in partnership with premier sponsor HSHS St. John’s Hospital. Other sponsors include Development Services Group, Community Bankers Association of Illinois, State Treasurer’s Charitable Trust Grant Program, LinkUp Illinois, Junior League of Springfield, Bank of Springfield, The Baker Group, SpringfieldMoms.org, West Central Bank, Davis Financial Group, Central Baptist Church and the City of Springfield.

Halloween Comes Early Downtown

Especially on Saturday, October 26, this year’s Halloween activities in the downtown neighborhood provide…an overwhelming number of choices! Whether you have kids, still feel like a kid, or want to be away from kids, we have you covered. Read on and get your costumes finalized!

Halloween at the Market 9-12:30 pm

Wrap up the summer season with what Illinois Times readers call the “Best Reason to Visit Downtown” – the Old Capitol Farmers Market. DSI, SpringfieldMoms.org, Bank of Springfield and friends host this annual free event, which includes costume contests (with cash prizes) for kids, families and dogs. Free kids activities. See who’s selling this day at the Market.

Halloween at Kidzeum 10 am – 5 pm

Come play with fun, Halloween-themed activities going on all day PLUS $1 off the price of admission for anyone in costume.

Halloween Carnival at the Hoogland 11 am – 5 pm

This family-friendly carnival that supports the Young Artist Fund for scholarships has grown BIGGER this year with haunted houses for older kids and a special “Frozen” Haunted House for younger kids. Enjoy carnival booths with prizes and candy, performances of your favorite Halloween songs and check out everyone’s costumes.

Parents, relax and enjoy a fall beverage while the kids experience The Frog Jump, Toy Story Plinko, Pin the Heart on the Tin Man, and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Trick or Treat at the Governor’s Mansion & City Safe Halloween Event on the Y Block 4 – 6 pm

These free events include generous amounts of candy, the ability to climb through the city’s large vehicles and more. Plus check out the Great Pumpkin Display while trick-or-treating at the Governor’s Mansion.

Nu-Voh Celebrates First Anniversary and Gives You 20% Off 4 – 10 pm

An adult way to celebrate the holiday weekend. Enjoy drink specials as well. Entree selections include a 16-ounce bone-in pork chop, gnocchi, 8-ounce filet mignon, 10-ounce grilled sirloin and pan-seared salmon or tuna.

Trick or Treat at the Old State Capitol 5-7 pm

More candy and fun activities before the parade starts!

The Incubator Celebrates First Anniversary with Halloween Bash 5 pm – 3 am

The Incubator is hosting its 2nd Annual Halloween party, featuring some of its favorite bands and DJs plus its new late night menu and drink specials.

Family Friendly Italian Dinner 6-9 pm

Grab some dinner and also stop by La Piazza Cucina Italiana on 6th Street to pick up coupons for kids 12 and under, to enjoy a slice of cheese pizza and soft drink for only $1.

Monsters Ball at 7 pm

Sangamo Club is hosting this special event for members and their guests.

The Parent Place 3rd Annual Halloween Parade at 7:30 pm

Check out the Beetlejuice-themed float by Downtown Springfield businesses and 41 other spooky, lighted entries.

Rocky Horror 10th Anniversary Show at 8 pm and 11:30 pm

So awesome, one of the performers had her eyelids still stuck together with glitter the next morning. ADHD Productions and HCFTA present the famous rock and roll musical about a “Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania” live on stage.

Check out other coming downtown activities on our calendar.

DSI Supports the Center for Health & Housing

The DSI Board of Directors, representing 150 business members in the downtown and adjacent neighborhoods, unanimously supports the proposed Center for Health and Housing.

It is true that Downtown Businesses are often the most adversely affected by the perceptions of visitors to a large homeless population. Yet what we believe is most compelling about the proposed Center is that it doesn’t just “move the problem around;” its approach will actually break the cycle of homelessness. This is a win for these individuals and a win for our community at large.

In addition, the Center makes sense fiscally, and will save our community thousands of dolalrs in emergency, police and other services. The selected site is located near other social agency resources and is within walking distance of the downtown hub where many individuals experiencing homelessness spend a considerable amount of time. The selected site has been vacant, there is no other tenant on the horizon, and it is perfectly suited for this purpose.

The Center for Health and Housing is a huge step forward for our community’s response to homelessness and we should embrace this opportunity to transform our approach.

To download our statement of support.

To follow the Center for Health and Housing on Facebook.

To educate yourself on the myths and stereotypes about people experiencing homelessness.

Music Series Fostered Community Pride and Spurred Positive Conversation about the Y Block

Not surprisingly, the number one reason that attendees to this summer’s Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series presented by PNC Bank would return to the south side of the Y Block was for a permanent bandshell or concert venue.

More than 7,700 people attended the ten-week, free music series held on the vacant lot adjacent to the Illinois Governor’s Mansion hosted by organizers Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation, Downtown Springfield Inc and Springfield Area Arts Council. The two goals for the local organizers, which won them a $25,000 matching grant from the Levitt Foundation, were to bring Springfield’s diverse neighborhoods together in one central location, and to bring the public into the discussion about the future of the Y Block.

Local partners jumped on board, with PNC Bank leading the way as premier sponsor of the series. Other top sponsors included Isringhausen Imports, Illinois REALTORS, US Bank, LRS and the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. Top in-kind sponsors included all three radio groups coming together under the Radio Matters banner, Springfield Park District, Wyndham Springfield City Centre, Star Graphics, Republic Services, and the City of Springfield, who made physical improvements to the space so that people could bring blankets and lawn chairs to the concerts and provided waste and police services.

Nearly five hundred attendees took the time to fill out a survey about their desires for the future of the block and their downtown habits. The next three most popular responses for “reasons why you would return regularly” were, in order, food truck park, gardens, and/or a dog park.

Download the Levitt Music Series Attendee Count & Survey Analysis

The goal to provide an inclusive, safe place for all members of the community to come together was accomplished. This year’s attendees generally mirrored the demographics of the City of Springfield, according to the US Census. To personally invite African American families to the series, we partnered with UAct, a local non-profit, who made a total of 117 contacts with people in 59 east side entities. The Latino attendance was actually a higher percentage than Springfield’s Latino population, thanks to outreach by Salsa Ambassador Julio Barrenzuela. The Asian population was somewhat underrepresented.

Photo Credit: Brian Bowles

The family-friendly atmosphere was evident. Nearly 60 percent of surveyed attendees came with their family. Forty-seven percent came with friends. More than a quarter of surveyed attendees brought at least one child with them to the concerts. And tellingly, eight percent of those surveyed came by themselves, which indicates the venue felt safe and welcoming.

Regarding the future of the block, the City Council recently passed an ordinance which supports placing a downtown campus of UIS and SIU on or near the Y Block.

Springfield intends to submit a renewal application for a 2020 Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series, which is due September 20. Follow Levitt AMP Springfield to stay up to date.

Downtown Springfield Inc has a policy position on the future of the Y Block. Read it here: North Mansion Block Updated 2019 Policy

An Art Deco Gem

In honor of our first Architectural Walking Tour of the season, which takes place on Wednesday, May 1, Cinda Ackerman Klickna contributed this blog post about the 88-year-old building which houses the organization that she led for six years as President.

The Illinois Education Association building at 100 E. Edwards is one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in downtown Springfield. Built in 1931 by Rockford architects Horn and Sandburg, it houses the offices of the largest union in Illinois. The IEA, with a current membership of 133,000, includes teachers and support staff, Pre-K through higher ed, plus retired members and students studying to become teachers.

IEA has a long history, starting as the Illinois State Teachers’ Institute in 1853. A constitution was written with the preamble explaining why the association was needed: “…believing that the organization of a State Teachers’ Institute is not only essential to raise the standard of teaching but conducive to the promotion of the of the greatest diffusion of knowledge throughout our
State.”

Membership grew over the years after many conventions with as many as 5000 teachers attending and with support of the legislature. In 1857, by an act of the Illinois Legislature, the name was changed to the Illinois State Teachers’ Association. The Association had by then helped to establish the Superintendent of Public Instruction as a regular full-time elected office (today the position is appointed by the Governor). In 1857, the Association helped establish Illinois State Normal University. It wasn’t until 1936 that the name became what it is today, the Illinois Education Association, because membership grew to include more than teachers.

By the 1920s, a small office served the membership; in 1925, the delegates to the annual meeting called the Representative approved money for the purchase of land and construction of a building in Springfield. A location with close proximity to the State Capitol was important so that legislative work could be continued.

Two lots on Edwards Street were purchased for $15,000. A two-story building was completed in 1931, named the William Bishop Owen Building in honor of the association’s former president who had worked to establish a permanent headquarters. The building cost $45,300.

The architects, Horn and Sandburg, designed a box-shaped structure using Indiana limestone. The facade has never changed. Four fluted carved columns rise two stories and are capped with a sunrise and geometric design. The sunrise and geometric pattern is repeated above the entrance.

Expansion occurred in 1953; the Centennial Addition was so named in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Association. The two-story addition on the back end, costing $134,000, added much needed space for offices and meetings. And in 1960, another addition, creating a “T,” was added to the back.  The ell wing, extending to the east, was added in the 1980’s.

Although the interior has been modernized with new windows, lighting, and air systems throughout the years, some parts of the original building can still be seen. Stairwells with wood railings, woodwork around glass panels, heavy doors, old radiators and grill vents add charm to the building.

IEA, a non-profit member of Downtown Springfield Inc., continues its original mission: to improve the quality of teaching by raising issues, working on legislation that helps students and raising the awareness of the needs of students and educators for successful public schools in every community.

All the Deets for Open Streets

For the second year, DSI is hosting Downtown Open Streets presented by Memorial Health System!! The event takes place on the paved streets around the Old State Capitol on Saturday, May 4 “May the Fourth Be With You” from 11-3, so there’s plenty of time to participate and watch the Kentucky Derby later that day….

Open Streets temporarily opens streets to people and closes them to cars. People can travel the loop from Washington Street to 5th to Monroe Street to 6th on their bikes, skateboards, skates, by foot or otherwise and enjoy the activity hubs on the “spokes” around the Old State Capitol and on Monroe and Adams.

Mosquito Joe “Outside is Fun Again” and a bevy of Springfield organizations will be providing health, fitness & FUN activities for all ages — ALL FOR FREE!

Old State Capitol Plaza

The first 200 attendees at the event will get a free drawstring backpack/shopping bag by visiting the DSI Information Booth on the Old State Capitol Plaza. Maps and times of all of the activities will also be available. Families should also stop by the Ace Bike Shop Corral on 6th at Adams Street to be entered in a drawing for an adolescent’s bike valued at $239. The drawing for the bike will be held at 1:30 pm right before the Bicycle Parade that starts at 6th and Washington.

Plus, “check out” new and gently used paperbacks and hardbacks for free from Land of Lincoln Bookshare.

5th Street between Washington and Monroe

Check your health knowledge and your blood pressure with Memorial; get a first look at Springfield’s coming BikeShare program, Gotcha; play bingo with Girls on the Run; practice Yoga with Willow City Farm’s goats and puppies; watch a performance by Dance Creations Dance Studio; do some crafts with Lincoln Memorial Garden; and learn about roller derby from the MidState Mayhem Roller Derby women’s team and Capital City Hooligans men’s teams.

Adams Street between 4th and 5th

Get ready for the 1:30 pm Bicycle Parade by decorating your bike with US Kiddos and Central Baptist Church; play “old-school” playground games in front of the Kidzeum; and get your portrait taken at the Curtain and Leaf booth.

Adams Street between 6th and 7th

Park your bike for free at the Ace Bike Shop Bike Corral and register for a childrens’ bike giveaway; stop by The Pharmacy Gallery & Art Space for the 2 pm public ribbon cutting; and test your abilities at Springfield Bicycle Club’s fun obstacle course.

6th and Washington Streets

Participate in the “Bicycle Parade”  at 1:30 pm; enjoy a performance by Springfield Youth Performance Group; take a free boot camp class every half hour with 180 Fitness; sign up to start running with Springfield Road Runners Club with their Abe’s Army program; watch experienced skateboarders in a Ramp Jam hosted by Boof City Skate Shop or learn tips for beginners; and make wind chimes with Wild Rose.

6th and Monroe Streets

Enjoy a Plant It bar with succulents and air plants with The Roost; make on-demand screen-printed T-shirts at Murphy’s Loft; look at APL animals to adopt with Studio on Sixth, enjoy 50% off select items in the store, and participate in Studio’s Sidewalk Chalk Drawing Contest, with prizes for every participant.

Monroe Street between 4th and 7th

Take free classes provided by the YMCA including street hockey, basketball, zumba spin class, and more; sit on the street in Custom Cup’s colorful tables and chairs; and enjoy a live band performance on an outdoor stage thanks to Dumb Records.

Get up-t0-the-minute posts on DSI’s Facebook event page.

Three Questions for the Candidates

Election season is almost over, and before you roll your eyes, consider how important it is that we elect people from every ward who understand the value of a revitalized downtown. The City of Springfield is DSI’s primary partner in the work that we do, and the work that we do benefits the entire city, any which way you look at it: whether tax base, corporate and medical recruitment,  making our young people want to come home, building out an entrepreneurial culture.

So first, we thanked the men and women who are running to make a difference in Springfield. It takes a lot of personal time, patience, caring and perseverance to run for elected office.

Then — we asked them three questions. The topics were:
1) future of the Y Block,
2) TIF Policy and
3) partnership with DSI.

Read the candidates’ responses here.

Voting ends at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 2. If you haven’t cast your ballot yet, the County Clerk’s office in the Sangamon County Courthouse on 9th Street is open all weekend for early voting. Download the hours here.

Meet our Farmers Market Team

Hey, Farmers Market fans! We’d like you to introduce you to Mollie Ringer, DSI’s Market Manager for the 20th season of the Old Capitol Farmers Market.

A lifelong resident of Springfield, Mollie’s enthusiasm for working for nonprofit organizations started in college at Illinois State University where she completed an internship with the Children’s Discovery Museum. There she found passion working with youth and fundraising for the community.

Mollie’s non-profit resume includes the Appalachia Service Project, Illinois Grape Growers and Vintner’s Association, and most recently, Hope. She has also been active as a volunteer for DSI events.

“Coming from a farming family, I am very excited to have the opportunity to connect farmers with local consumers and to educate the community about the available healthy products and produce right in their backyard,” says Mollie.

Mollie will be joined on Market Days by Market Assistant Kailey Connour, who graduated from UIS in August with a BA in Environmental Studies. Kailey’s interests include sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and anything to do with the Ocean (as her long-time goals include working with marine wildlife). “Springfield has been my home for the past three years and I’m excited to see the extra steps that the city is taking towards a better city and a greater environment,” said Kailey.

The Market management team will oversee a 12-month calendar which includes the Old Capitol Farmers Market from May 18-October 26; two Holiday Markets in November and December; and a monthly Winter Market from January – April 2020.

This is the first year that DSI has taken on the role of producing a year-round market, taking over day-to-day management of the Holiday Markets and Winter Markets which were started by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, in addition to the summer-time Old Capitol Farmers Market, which has been managed by DSI since 1999.

The vendor application for the 2019 Old Capitol Farmers Market is now live.

Some Market dates to jot down on your calendar:

May 18 – Grand Opening of the Old Capitol Farmers Market

July 20 – Kids Day at the Market/Kidzeum One-Year Anniversary

September 5 – Friends of the Market Street Dinner (tickets go on sale in July)

October 26 – Halloween at the Market

Calling Artists for 2019 Art Alley Challenge

Artist Immanuel Ahiable greeting friends and family during our first Art Alley Pop Up.

This year’s Art Alley III Pop Up takes place on Saturday, September 14 — with a twist. Seven selected artists or artistic teams will “compete” by completing a mural in only one day. As night falls, we’ll gather for our Pop Up Party, where guests can vote for their favorite mural — so that we can give the artists prizes! — and to celebrate Springfield’s artistic community.

Tickets are not yet available but all proceeds will benefit DSI’s ARTification Public Art Program.

The Call for Artists has been released thanks to our partners at Springfield Art Association. Please download the Call for Artists and apply today: Art Alley III Mural Competition Call FINAL

Thank you to our sponsors Solomon Colors and Springfield Electric!

You can get your tickets now!  Click here for more details.

 

 

 

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