2018 Record Breaking Season for Old Capitol Farmer’s Market

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.

Download the visual 2018 OCFM Impact Report.

All Incomes Being Able to Buy

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

Junior League of Springfield helped increase the capacity for staffing, program planning, and data collection for the SNAP program.

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.

Downtown restaurants shop weekly at the Farmers Market.

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.”

Award-Winning

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.

Next year we’ll celebrate our 20th year! Contact us if you want to be involved as a sponsor or a community group.

 

Downtown Shuttle Reduced Fare Announced

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.

City of Springfield’s 26th Annual Earth Awareness Fair

There will be an “Upcycling” area that teaches people about creative reuse; a beer & wine garden that teaches people about sustainable cultivation practices; and a fun and interactive petting zoo.

Along with:

  • Kids Bicycle Rodeo
  • Live Music
  • Workshops/Speakers
  • Contests
  • Food
  • 40+ exhibitors

Email us for the city’s registration forms for vendors or volunteers.

Springfield Comprehensive Plan Final Public Hearing

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.

Ward 2 – Strategic Ward Planning Meetings

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.

Ward 5 – Strategic Ward Planning Meetings

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.

Why It’s Worth It to Study Going Back to Two-Way Streets Downtown

Executive Director Lisa Clemmons Stott gave these remarks to the Springfield City Council this week.

This picture posted on Springfield Rewind shows that downtown had two-way traffic at 5th and Adams in 1949.

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.

Louisville KY’s conversion happened long enough ago (2011) that planning scholars have been able to assess the economic impact with hard data:

  • 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.

Other cities converting back to two-way streets:

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.

Outcome as reported by SJR’s Mary Hansen: Council gives initial OK to funding for two-way traffic study

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