Downtown Sidewalk Sales

Score a great deal or two at one of our dozens of shops as they switch from summer to fall inventory. Make it a day by adding in lunch, drinks, the Old Capitol Farmers Market, and spending a few minutes watching seven artists compete in a one-day-mural-painting contest in the Art Alley on 5th Street by Augie’s Front Burner.

Click the link below to follow the event on Facebook for updates on participating businesses.

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

A Downtown Resource: How the Davis Family Has Helped Shape Our Neighborhood

On the corner of Fourth and Adams sits Resource One, office design specialists and a supplier of quality furniture. Resource One has operated out of their location at 321 E Adams Street since 1992. You could say that their location and industry gave them literal “front row seats” to how the downtown area has developed over the last three decades; the truth is that both generations of the family-run business have also spent countless hours helping to mold downtown’s future.  

As they have grown their business, Cindy Davis and two of her children Lauren and Chris have also volunteered alongside other business owners and advocates to make the neighborhood a more active and interesting place.

Cindy Davis is the co-founder and CEO of Resource One. She served as a DSI board member and Board President in 2003-2004. She can be credited with helping to bring two of DSI’s most interesting and longstanding tours to fruition. The story goes that Cindy attended a Main Street conference in Elgin, where the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s Anthony Rubano — a Springfieldian — led participants on a tour of Elgin’s downtown. Of course, DSI needed to replicate the experience in our own historic downtown and started with one walking tour a year. Now, thanks to its popularity, each summer from May to October, on the first Wednesday of the month, Anthony leads DSI’s free Architectural Walking Tour.

Cindy also worked as a board member with DSI’s first full-time executive director, Valicia Crisafulli, to develop the Upper Story Tour. A few weeks ago, DSI hosted its 19th tour of upper story commercial and residential spaces that are not always open to the general public. The event also serves as a fundraiser for DSI’s work to match property owners with potential tenants and to help manage the shift in ownership which happens every generation.

Cindy’s son, Chris Davis, is in sales and Business Development at Resource One. Following in his mother’s footsteps in both business and volunteer time, Chris started getting involved when DSI privately fundraised for and implemented a creative placemaking project on the Old State Capitol Plaza. Thanks to private donations, DSI worked with the City to hang cafe lighting, provide colorful tables and chairs, and bags games and a ping-pong table. DSI shopped local as they always try to do and Chris helped determine the appropriate design and colors for the tables and chairs. After several meetings to discuss the activation project, Chris came away as an advocate for trying new concepts and not being afraid of change.

Chris then joined the Economic Vitality committee; one of their subcommittees created the Momentum on Main Street program, which is geared to attract the next generation of entrepreneurs, investors and property developers. Chris and the other committee members brought corporate, educational and city interests together to demystify the process to invest in downtown. The next free Momentum session is July 30th to provide information about financing options. 

While the Davis family certainly is proud to have made Resource One a family business, they have also helped to welcome others in the downtown neighborhood as family. When describing what is most enjoyable about their downtown location, Chris says, “It’s the downtown family. We take pride in each other’s businesses and we take ownership in each other’s businesses. We share problems, challenges and victories. And I feel like we are starting to enjoy more and more victories.”

 

Why Not Wednesdays?

Grab your friends and head downtown for extended shopping hours, special events, dinner and/or drinks!

Why Not Wednesdays?

Grab your friends and head downtown for extended shopping hours, special events, dinner and/or drinks!

Mark Kessler, of Recycled Records Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

On, January 23rd, Downtown Springfield, Inc hosted their 26th Annual Awards Dinner highlighting the people and places that make downtown the hub for culture in Springfield. One very special award went to Mark Kessler, of Recycled Records for his tireless work in our community. Here is the speech the Past DSI Director, Victoria Ringer gave while announcing her dear friend as the recipient of the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award:

I am Honored to be presenting the Wally Henderson LifeTime Achievement Award
this evening. Wally and his wife Brynn came to mean a lot to me and my husband
Doug. Our recipient and his wife have also be like Wally, this man has made his
mark on downtown by saying exactly what he thinks, working harder than the
average guy, giving back to his community and pulling no punches. 

In fact, as did Wally, our recipient would often call the DSI office and give his
opinion, often with volume and passion, on an issue affecting downtown. He would
always end the conversation with “you know I love ya, right”. Yep, I did.
When it comes to historical knowledge, business savvy, and the ability to
communicate I always knew where to send the media when they were looking for a
good interview or story. Running a family business that has been in the same
location for over 100 years takes stamina, the ability to acclimate to good and bad
economic situations, and character.

What once began as a downtown furniture store has evolved into a national
destination for collectors, famous musicians and people wanting to have a real
experience when shopping for jewelry, vintage items and, of course, music. You will
find an experienced staff, unusual displays and one constant overseeing the entire
menagerie.

Not unlike a fine vinyl record, this man has unique grooves, a crisp voice and the
ability to make a difference in the way you feel just by having a listen.
It is my great pleasure to present the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award
to Mark Kessler, of Recycled Records.

 

Other winners of the night included:

Best Retail: The Roost

Best Restaurant: VELE

Best Not for Profit Initiative:  Lincoln Library and Director Will O’Hearn

2018 Most Impactful Public-Private Partnership: Kidzeum of Health and Science and the City of Springfield

Green Leadership: Kevin Greene

Best Renovation: St. George Apartments – Josh Wagoner

Best Creative Promotion: Hashtag Adams Family developed by Mark Forinash, Cafe Moxo

Best 2018 Event: Old Capitol Blues and BBQ Festival

Best Nightlife: Buzz Bomb Brewery

Bicentennial Award: Illinois Governor Mansions Association & Illinois REALTORS

Downtown Advocate of the Year: Linda Renehan

Volunteer of the Year: Brenda Stroh

 

To read more about the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award, see the article posted in the SJ-R

Final Old Capitol Holiday Walk

 

Time to get into the Holiday spirit! Join us at 2018’s Old Capitol Holiday Walks. There will be plenty of shopping, dining, and holiday cheer to go around. As you walk through our charming downtown neighborhood, you will enjoy carolers, our giant Christmas tree on the Plaza, performers and more!

Special Events:

 

Santa at the Old State Capitol

Saturdays 2pm – 5pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Horse Drawn Carriage

Saturdays 1pm – 4pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Music Performances

Old State Capitol

Saturdays 1pm & 4pm & Wednesdays 6pm

 

Union Park Holiday Lights & Music

Ongoing

Old Capitol Holiday Walks

 

Time to get into the Holiday spirit! Join us at 2018’s Old Capitol Holiday Walks. There will be plenty of shopping, dining, and holiday cheer to go around. As you walk through our charming downtown neighborhood, you will enjoy carolers, our giant Christmas tree on the Plaza, performers and more!

Special Events:

Tree Lighting

Watch the magic come alive as we light our neighborhood tree!

November 24th 5:30pm

 

Santa at the Old State Capitol

Saturdays 2pm – 5pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Horse Drawn Carriage

Saturdays 1pm – 4pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Music Performances

Old State Capitol

Saturdays 1pm & 4pm & Wednesdays 6pm

 

Union Park Holiday Lights & Music

Ongoing

Old Capitol Holiday Walks

 

Time to get into the Holiday spirit! Join us at 2018’s Old Capitol Holiday Walks. There will be plenty of shopping, dining, and holiday cheer to go around. As you walk through our charming downtown neighborhood, you will enjoy carolers, our giant Christmas tree on the Plaza, performers and more!

Special Events:

 

Santa at the Old State Capitol

Saturdays 2pm – 5pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Horse Drawn Carriage

Saturdays 1pm – 4pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Music Performances

Old State Capitol

Saturdays 1pm & 4pm & Wednesdays 6pm

 

Union Park Holiday Lights & Music

Ongoing

Old Capitol Holiday Walks

 

Time to get into the Holiday spirit! Join us at 2018’s Old Capitol Holiday Walks. There will be plenty of shopping, dining, and holiday cheer to go around. As you walk through our charming downtown neighborhood, you will enjoy carolers, our giant Christmas tree on the Plaza, performers and more!

Special Events:

 

Santa at the Old State Capitol

Saturdays 2pm – 5pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Horse Drawn Carriage

Saturdays 1pm – 4pm & Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

 

Music Performances

Old State Capitol

Saturdays 1pm & 4pm & Wednesdays 6pm

 

Union Park Holiday Lights & Music

Ongoing

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