After nearly four years in development, the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Forward SGF, has been officially adopted. The Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council adopted the Plan on Nov. 14, 2022, following public hearings and a series of final review sessions with the public.
So what’s next? I get asked two questions these days, first; am I glad to have Forward SGF completed? Secondly, what’s implementation going to look like? The answer to the first question is a resounding YES! While I am still honored to have had the opportunity to lead such a historic process, I am very relieved to have it adopted and looking forward to kicking off new projects on the road to implementation.
So what are we going to begin working on first? I’ve rehearsed this answer a hundred times now! Forward SGF isn’t a City of Springfield-only plan. Implementation will require an all-hands-on-deck approach and there will not be one or two key things that occur that make Springfield the city envisioned by Forward SGF, but rather, it will take an accumulation of large and small wins, both in the short and long term. Both the private and public sectors will need to step up and channel our resources to make the most of every project and every effort.
Quality of place has been declared our plan’s official barometer and our guiding principle to champion. Ensuring we acclimate our everyday actions to align with the guiding principle will be our first step. There are several processes/actions underway to begin implementing the recommendations in the plan.
The City has initiated the process of updating our development codes and we are engaging in a comprehensive housing and neighborhood revitalization study. City Utilities is studying the public transportation system, and soon we’ll start looking closer at key corridors and neighborhoods for opportunities to improve public investment and quality of life. We will need public support and involvement to hold our feet to the fire and remain vigilant to make Springfield the community we’ve set our sights on.
Education and awareness will play an important role in implementing the comprehensive plan. The City is dedicated to making ourselves available to meet with citizens and organized groups to coordinate and continue the discussion about impacting the future of our city.
I would like to pass on my appreciation to all the members of the advisory teams, focus groups, City Council, the Planning & Zoning Commission, neighborhoods and our staff at the City who spent so much time making the most of this opportunity. I would like to recognize the members of the City’s Planning and Development Department, particularly Senior Planner Alana Owen and Associate Planner Ben Tegeler from the Planning and Neighborhoods team, for their hard work and devotion to Forward SGF: