A group of volunteers spent a recent Wednesday morning helping to beautify downtown with plants native to Illinois.
The idea bubbled up from members of DSI’s Design Committee, who worked with master gardener Susan Helm to develop a plan and find grant funding to conduct a pilot program in downtown’s planters.
A key member of the group is Michael Higgins, who recently won a Sustainable Springfield award for the work he’s done to utilize his Maldaner’s Restaurant rooftop to achieve sustainable goals, including installing solar panels, a beehive and a native plant container to support native pollinators. Energy use at the restaurant has been reduced by 20% over the past five years. Take-out containers are provided in compostable containers and most recently plastic straws were replaced with paper straws, the first downtown business to make the switch.
For the downtown planters project, Higgins, Helm and Erin Svendsen of SAA collaborated with the Illinois Native Plant Society, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the City of Springfield to develop their plan. They successfully won a grant from the Springfield Civic Garden Club, which donated proceeds its Annual Plant Sale to garden-related projects for a charitable organization.
The newly-planted planters will beautify the downtown area but also serve two other important functions: saving the City of Springfield money by utilizing perennials and attracting pollinators, which are an important part of the ecosystem and have been diminishing. The different species of plants used range from flowers like Coneflower and Poppy Mallow to plants like White Sage and Prairie Dropseed. Along with these plants native to Illinois, the downtown planters project added herbs for texture and pollinator value.
Each pot is essentially an entire pollinator garden. You can find them on both sides of 6th Street from Monroe to Adams Street. They are also on Adams Street between 6th and 7th Streets. Depending on the success of this first pilot project, look for an expansion to other planters in the downtown area in the coming years.
the Momentum on Main Street Meet-up and Presentation, don’t forget to apply for one of the US Bank scholarships before April 1. Check your email for details!
Free How-To Sessions for Anyone
Wednesday, April 24
4:00pm – 5:30pm, Buzz Bomb Brewery Turning Your Home Kitchen into a Business and Getting Started at the Farmers Market RSVP Here
Molly Gleason of Illinois Stewardship Alliance and Mollie Ringer, the Manager of the Old Capitol Farmers Market, will lead this session.
Wednesday, May 29
12:00pm – 1:00pm, Lincoln Library Permits and City Hall- Who You Need to Know and Where You Need to Go RSVP Here
Abby Powell, TIF Manager at the City of Springfield, will demystify the process for you.
Wednesday, June 26
4:00pm – 5:30pm, The Incubator Vacant Building Walk-Through: What To Consider Before You Buy RSVP Here
Architect Jeff Sommers will show you what to look for when you’re seeking downtown space.
Ready to Accelerate Your Idea Using the Co.Starters 9-week series at Innovate Springfield?
The best candidate for the CO.STARTERS program is either someone with a new idea for a business, or an existing business looking to become more sustainable, launch a new product or service, or scale.
Participants will receive guidance for a process to figure out whether or not an idea is good and how to change it to make it work; the ability to better articulate how their businesses work; defined next steps needed to move forward; and a community of peers and support.
Sessions run on Monday evenings from 5:30 PM-8:30 PM. The first cohort begins April 25th. Learn more.
The Old Capitol Farmer’s Market celebrated its 19th season as a DSI program in 2018, with record breaking attendance and sales. From mid-May through October, each Wednesday & Saturday morning, the market is held on Adams Street and 4th. It boasts a total of 70 different vendors throughout the season, selling a wide variety of locally-grown and hand-crafted products, contributing to the economic, environmental and social well-being of downtown as well as the entire Springfield community.
This past summer season was the third year that DSI has partnered with Illinois Stewardship Alliance to manage the day-to-day market operations, and Springfield Area Arts Council to program the music. We are also indebted to our premier sponsor, HSHS St. John’s Hospital, plus supporting partners which include Central Baptist Church, The Dinges Family, Chef Michael Higgins, Springfield Youth Performance Group, Midwest Family, the Kidzeum, SpringfieldMoms.org and many more entities and individuals.
“The Market is a celebration of everything that is Springfield, and the partners are really proud of it,” says Market Manager Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant. “Shoppers can find everything from green zebra-striped heirloom tomatoes specially bred to thrive in this region, to homemade blueberry donuts made by local bakers using blueberries grown in the Springfield area. But the market is so much more than a great place to shop; it’s also a great investment in the community.”
2018 Season by the numbers:
NEW record: 65,856 total adult and child visitors (10% increase!)
NEW record: $23,377 spent by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers to increase their healthy food intake (43% increase!)
NEW record: $11,839 Credit/Debit transactions at the Market Booth (13% increase!)
60 Local & Family-Owned Businesses
your Farmers Market food traveled 38.9 miles to get to you
30% Women-Owned Businesses
1733 lbs of fresh produce donated
The economic impact on Springfield is easy to see. According to the National Farmers Market Coalition, sales at locally owned businesses infuse three times more back into the local economy than chain retailers.
This year, the Market was able to match $10,932 of the SNAP sales thanks to Link-Up Illinois Grant offered by Experimental Station, for a total of $23,377 dollars that went directly back into the pockets of local farms and businesses. The SNAP Match program ensures that families of all income levels across Springfield have access to fresh, wholesome food and that SNAP dollars stay local. This year a new partnership with the
Thanks to a new program in partnership with GenHKids, during 10 Market dates from July 25th – Oct. 3rd, farmers were able to provide 1,733 pounds of fresh produce for low-income families throughout Springfield, furthering the Market as a driver of social good.
Economic Spillover for Downtown Revitalization
The #AdamsFamily continues to grow, thanks to the foot traffic created by the Farmers Market and the ability for entrepreneurs to test out their products and grow a fan base. Two 2017 vendors made the move to new brick-and-mortar homes on Adams Street in 2018: Buzz Bomb Brewing Co. and the Itty Bitty Fashion Truck. Custom Cup Coffee also celebrated its final season selling at the Market, having started as a vendor several years ago and now running a thriving brick-and-mortar location on Monroe.
More Fresh Than Anywhere
Environmentally, farmers and food vendors at the Market travel 38.9 miles one way to bring their products to market, a carbon footprint that is significantly less than that of food on grocery shelves, which travels an average of 1200 miles. Market staff inspect new farm vendors to verify that all products are grown by the farmers and not purchased from wholesale auctions or out-of-state, ensuring that all dollars stay local and truly support area family farms. We work hard so that you can trust that our market is truly “local” and “fresh.”
The Market remains one of the most popular attractions in downtown. This year, the Market received three accolades: Best Fresh Produce and Best Weekend Activity by the State Journal-Register, and Best Free Entertainment by Illinois Times. According to visitor counts recorded in 2018, 65,856 total adult and children visited the market (an average of 2,634 each Saturday) with a record-shattering 7,299 patrons on opening day, Saturday, May 19.
Chef demonstrations, educational displays by partners, and family fitness programs make the Market more than just a place to shop. St. John’s Hospital offered free health screenings, and a number of community groups offered services, such as free books from the Land of Lincoln Book Share, meditation with the Student Yoga and Mindfulness Project, and a weekly Local Business tent we added as another form of community collaboration.
We also would like to thank the City of Springfield Office of Public Works for helping ensure the safety of the streets where the Market comes alive every single week and the Convention & Visitors Bureau for promoting it to our city’s visitors.
What’s Next for the Market?
Fortunately for Springfield, the final Holiday Market takes place at the State House Inn at 2nd and Adams on December 22, and a Winter Market will take place there once a month from January – April. For a full schedule, see our calendar of events.
This morning, the Sangamon Mass Transit District (SMTD) announced a discount fare for the Downtown Shuttle. Regularly priced at $1.25 per ride, the reduced fair is only $1.00 per ride. Additionally, there is a discount pass good for 10 rides that costs just $5.00. Passes can be shared by families or friends riding together. This is perfect timing as the summer heat makes hopping on an air conditioned shuttle pretty tempting!!
Passes can be picked up at the SMTD Offices at 928 South 9th St. or are available on the shuttle directly. Note that drivers are not equipped to make change and cannot accept debit or credit cards, so exact change will be needed.
The Downtown Shuttle has faced a danger of being cancelled, which would be tragic to many retail shops & restaurants. The route is based primarily on key business corridors in the downtown neighborhood. As many local business owners know, we get plenty of complaints about parking (although garage parking is plentiful). The Downtown Shuttle is a welcoming solution to giving tourists and locals alike an easy way to get around.
The service runs every 20 minutes from 6:20am to 6:20pm and every 10 minutes from 11:20am to 1:40pm Monday – Friday. To see the route and learn pick-up/drop-off times, visit the SMTD Downtown Shuttle website.
Look for signs at the following locations: Stratton Building, Washington & 2nd, Capitol & 5th, and Adams & 7th.
The report divides Springfield into 17 sectors. Suggestions are provided for each sector on how future development should proceed.
Here’s how to view the plan and provide feedback about it:
* It is available for review on the city’s website, and hardcopies are available at the Springfield City Clerk’s Office, 300 S. Seventh St.; Lincoln Library, 326 S. Seventh St.; and the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission, 200 S. Ninth St, Room 212 (Sangamon County Building).
* Public comments may be submitted via email to feedback@Springfield.il.us or in writing to the City of Springfield Mayor’s Office, 800 E. Monroe St., Room 300, Springfield, IL. 62701. The deadline to submit comments is Nov. 16.
* A public hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Springfield City Council Chambers. After the hearing, the planning and zoning commission will make their final recommendation to the city council.
Location: Central Baptist Church-Fellowship Hall, 501 S. Fourth St.
Join Mayor Jim Langfelder and downtown Ward 2 Alderman Herman Senor at the upcoming 2017 Strategic Ward Planning meetings. These ward meetings will be facilitated by Benedictine University and serve as open forums where individuals and businesses can share their thoughts and views about the priorities for their specific wards while learning about city projects and initiatives. Residents who have questions about the forums may contact the Mayor’s Office at 217.789.2200.
Join Mayor Jim Langfelder and downtown Alderman Andrew Proctor at the upcoming 2017 Strategic Ward Planning meetings. These ward meetings will be facilitated by Benedictine University and serve as open forums where individuals and businesses can share their thoughts and views about the priorities for their specific wards while learning about city projects and initiatives. Residents who have questions about the forums may contact the Mayor’s Office at 217.789.2200.
Executive Director Lisa Clemmons Stott gave these remarks to the Springfield City Council this week.
The use of Central Area TIF funds to study whether one-way to two-way street conversion makes cents – as in cash registers ringing – is a prioritized use of TIF that aligns with DSI’s goals to increase foot traffic in the downtown district.
The Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) urban planners told us to reconsider our one-way grid back in 2012 when they encouraged us to stay focused on building a residential downtown. This is an interesting factoid they shared: “Customers who arrive by bicycle or foot spend less per retail visit, but make more frequent visits overall, which means that they spend more on an annual basis.” The kicker: “As many cities have discovered, the retail districts with the slowest speeds and highest congestion are often the most successful.”
We are not the first city to study one-way conversion and this is not a fly-by-night strategy. Cities around the country have reverted to their original two-way streets to increase economic impact in their downtowns.
Fewer collisions, less crime and higher property values
Traffic safety in the area improved even though the traffic volume increased
People were willing to exchange the slower speeds for more direct access to their destination
Crime rate actually decreased on two problem streets because more “eyeballs” on the street
In Lubbock, Texas, 86% of local business were in favor of more conversion after seeing the results of the first few completed streets because they credited it as one part of helping them experience growth after years of decline.
This is potentially one part of a larger downtown transportation solution that is needed–including signage analysis and wayfinding installation – and a parking app–and that is why conversion’s effect on parking is also a very important aspect of this study.
The process of neighborhood improvement is a very complex one with lots of variables. The downtown business community recommends a Yes vote to fund the initial conversion study.