The City of Springfield is beginning a major public engagement initiative, asking the community to help set the vision for the upcoming Grant Avenue Parkway project. A series of in-person and virtual public engagement events is set to kick off this summer.
The city-wide visioning phase of the project will begin with a live GAP Community Engagement Kickoff event hosted at the Springfield Art Museum. The combination in-person and virtual event will reintroduce the community to the project and involve them in interactive input exercises to identify issues and opportunities along the route.
Following the kickoff, similar engagement sessions will focus specifically on the residents, businesses and agencies located directly along the planned corridor. One session will focus on the Fassnight Neighborhood, located roughly between Sunshine Street and Grand Street, and another will target the West Central Neighborhood, located between Grand Street and Chestnut Expressway.
Both sessions will be held in person with the opportunity to also participate virtually via Facebook live at Facebook.com/CityofSGF or at springfieldmo.gov/grantavenueparkway.
A downtown focus session targeting the planned downtown loop and Jordan Creek daylighting project site is tentatively planned in late summer.
“It is imperative that we work together with the neighborhoods, business and agencies along this stretch of Grant Avenue throughout this process,” says Director of Quality of Place Initiatives Tim Rosenbury. “Each neighborhood segment has unique needs and character that will give this corridor life and make it 100% Springfield. We cannot call this project a success in the end if this hasn’t impacted the residents’ lives for the better.”
Funded primarily by a $21 million federal Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant, the Grant Avenue Parkway will provide major multi-modal transportation improvements along Grant Avenue in the heart of Springfield.
The 3.3-mile stretch of “parkway” will create an attractive corridor connecting vibrant Downtown Springfield to the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, with various neighborhoods, parks, Ozark Greenway connections and other amenities in between.
Input from neighborhoods, residents and stakeholders along the route as well as the community-at-large will be used to provide guidance to subject matter experts completing the upcoming preliminary design phase for the project.
Since receiving notification of the grant in late 2019, the City has been working closely with the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to map out the steps and timeline required to implement the project. In March, the City hired Director of Quality of Place Tim Rosenbury, to aid in the intentional development of the parkway and other large capital projects.
The public engagement process began in February with a series of primary stakeholder and community interest group meetings. Plans to begin extensive outreach to the general public were put on hold during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 hugely impacted and continues to impact the lives of our citizens and their outlook toward the future,” says City Department of Public Information and Civic Engagement Director Cora Scott. “Now that we are beginning to settle into a new normal, we believe the community is ready to plan for the future and dream once again.”
For more information on the Grant Avenue Parkway project, visit springfieldmo.gov/grantavenueparkway.