City of Springfield, Illinois

James O. Langfelder - Mayor

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   Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder was one of 40 American mayors selected to participate in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s intensive leadership and management program in July, 2020. He joined a class of dedicated mayors, attended immersive, online classes taught by faculty from Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School and featuring other renowned management experts from across the Bloomberg Philanthropies network. With mayors playing a central role in driving social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, this year’s program will focus on the skills required to respond to emerging challenges with an emphasis on equity. The program was no cost to the City or Mayor.

Through this partnership, the City of Springfield was able to apply for other programs offered by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard. Following are some of the opportunities Springfield is taking part in.

Harvard Fellowship
In June and July of 2021, the City of Springfield hosted a Harvard Fellow (Megan Willis-Jackson) who focused on recommended changes and additions to the processes through which the City identifies and addresses vacant and dilapidated housing. Willis-Jackson’s work was made possible by Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. Mayor Langfelder is a participant in the Initiative’s flagship program, and the City produced a fully scoped project that qualified it to receive a Fellow. Willis-Jackson worked for 10 weeks with the City of Springfield analyzing processes and systems, talking with staff and community members, and visiting properties while also conducting research and collaborating with mentors at Bloomberg Harvard.

The report is divided into three high-level sections, including recommendations for the inspection process carried out by the Office of Public Works, the legal process carried out by the Office of Code Enforcement, and the economic development processes performed by the Office of Planning and Economic Development (OPED).

Recommendations vary in length of time to complete; however, efforts are already underway to move forward by the City.

Read the full report.

City of Springfield & School District 186 Launch COVID-19 Dashboard for Schools
In partnership with the Bloomberg Harvard Data Track initiative, the City of Springfield and School District 186 launched a new COVID-19 Dashboard to provide up-to-date insights to COVID-19 positive cases within District 186 schools, in addition to a general snapshot of positive cases in Springfield. The COVID-19 Dashboard is available on School District’s 186 website. A commonly asked questions document is also available on the Dashboard webpage.

Parents, families and community members can monitor overall District progress and filter information by individual schools. The Dashboard also tracks positive COVID-19 cases throughout Springfield in addition to the number of COVID vaccines distributed in Sangamon County.

What Works Cities: City Budgeting for Equity and Recovery
In October 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that Springfield was one of 30 cities participating in the What Works Cities City Budgeting for Equity and Recovery program, a new effort that will help cities confront budget crisis while strengthening their commitment to equity in the wake of COVID-19. The program will help cities develop and implement plans to drive financial recovery and ensure that their budget crisis do not disproportionately harm low-income residents and communities of color. It will also provide the opportunity for leaders from the 30 cities to problem solve with a network of peers and produce a set of tactics for other local leaders to follow.

The program will cover challenges most pressing to budget leaders including:
  • Understanding, accessing and spending COVID relief funds;
  • Financing that enables strong budget health;
  • Increasing revenues in a way that doesn’t disproportionately impact low-income families; and
  • Incorporating an equity analysis into major budget decisions, including cuts.
Program participants, including include mayors and city financial leaders, receive guidance from finance experts in the public, private, and academic sectors such as Professor Lourdes German from Boston College and Marc Shaw, Chair of the CUNY Institute of State and Local Governance; engage with their peers in interactive workshops; and receive customized support and technical assistance, valued at over $100,000 per city. What Works Cities will share the learnings and resources developed during the program publicly to ensure that cities everywhere are able to apply them to their local budgeting process.

The 30 cities that have been selected to participate in the program, which will run through December 2021, are: Akron (OH), Austin (TX), Birmingham (AL), Chattanooga (TN), Chula Vista (CA), Columbia (SC), Columbus (OH), Denver (CO), Durham (NC), Fort Collins (CO), Knoxville (TN), Lincoln (NE), Madison (WI), New Orleans (LA), Oakland (CA), Peoria (IL), Philadelphia (PA), Providence (RI), Pueblo (CO), Rochester (NY), Salt Lake City (UT), Savannah (GA), Seattle (WA), Springfield (IL), Stockton (CA), Syracuse (NY), Tacoma (WA), Tampa (FL), Toledo (OH), West Palm Beach (FL).

   Sports Tourism Facilities

The City of Springfield’s Convention & Visitors Bureau commissioned a market analysis to determine, that if a new sports complex was built in Springfield, could it reach specific goals. The study looked at increase in hotel occupancy and boost in economic development; expand the city’s brand as an affordable, accessible and family friendly sports destination; be a community asset that would fill local recreation gaps and needs; and create a self-sustaining business model that would limit the need for ongoing subsidies. The analysis was completed by Florida-based Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA) and presented to the Springfield City Council on June 18, 2019.

For indoor facilities, SFA recommends exploring the building of a 122,000 square-foot indoor facility that would provide flexible floor space to be used for basketball, volleyball, cheerleading competitions and similar types of events. They also recommended including an entertainment space in the venue.

For outdoor facilities, much of the focus would be on baseball and softball fields, while leaving some multi-purpose space. The footprint on the outdoor space would be about 46 acres.

SFA is not recommending the entire facility to be developed, but it is what they believe has the potential to meet all the goals outlined by the city.

View SFA’s presentation

View the full report

   Annexation

Annexation in simplest terms is bringing property inside the City of Springfield corporate limits. These properties are also referred to as “Holes in the Donut”, meaning the property is surrounded by land already in the corporate City limits, but because it was not annexed in previously, it leaves a “hole” amongst surrounding City properties.

The City is discussing annexing properties in Ward 1 that are around Lake Springfield. 472 lake properties are already in the City corporate limits, and the annexation would bring in the remaining 272 properties. On August 10, a meeting was held with property owners and Mayor Langfelder to discuss the annexation. To read the questions, answers and comments from the meeting.

To read more about the project click below.
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   Comprehensive Plan

Mayor Jim Langfelder announced the completion of the 2017–2037 Comprehensive Plan for the City of Springfield: Forging a New Legacy. The public comment period had ended. The Springfield City Council will vote on the final plan on Tuesday, December 19 at the 5:30 p.m. City Council meeting.

To read more about the project click below.
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   Downtown Projects

Public Works has various projects for the downtown area including traffic light upgrades, one-way to two-way streets, beautification, and new parking meter technology.

 

Review the proposed projects here.

   Downtown WiFi

Sponsored by the City of Springfield, the goal is to provide and maintain a complimentary Wi-Fi Internet In an effort to boost downtown foot traffic to businesses, sites, and attractions, the City of Springfield launched the first two phases of its free, high speed municipal Wi-fi to the area at the end of October 2016. SpringfieldFreeWifi allows individuals walking from Capitol Avenue to Jefferson Street, and 2nd Street to 9th Street to enjoy complimentary internet connection.

The ultimate goal for free Wifi is to assist with way-finding; increase foot traffic; and positively impact time spent in the downtown area.

The City of Springfield worked with Novanis, a local technology company, for the final design and selection of the hardware. The city ultimately selected Ruckus, a company that has provided Wifi hardware to other cities including San Jose, California. Other cities offering free Wifi include Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Albany, New York; Charleston, South Carolina; Springfield, Ohio; Madison, Wisconsin; and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The high speed internet speed will range depending on usage traffic. The city also has the flexibility to switch from public to private secured access during emergencies if needed by Springfield Police or Fire Departments.

   EmberClear Power Plant

Earlier this year, EmberClear announced plans to construct a 1,100-megawatt gas-to-electricity power plant with one of the possible locations including Pawnee. At the request of the City of Springfield, The Energy Authority (TEA) conducted a study on the effects the plant would have on CWLP. The report from TEA was provided to the City Council members at the Tuesday, June 26 Committee of the Whole meeting.

To read the report, click here.

To read the City Ordinance and recommended agreement, click here.

EmberClear’s CEO and VP of Midwest presented to the Committee of the Whole on August 8. Click here to view their presentation.

   Hunter Lake

In July, 2015, the Springfield City Council voted 9-1 to endorse Hunter Lake as a supplement to the City's current drinking water source, Lake Springfield, which state water officials have twice labeled "inadequate" to withstand a severe drought. On August 22, 2015, the City of Springfield signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for the agency to oversee recreational access and manage wildlife habitats at the site. The next phase of the project is the permitting process which is estimated to take 12 to 18 months followed by the design and the construction phases which are estimated to each take two years.

   Map of Hunter Lake

   Stats about Hunter Lake

   Presentation on Springfield Water Demand

   Illinois Bicentennial

The State of Illinois turns 200 in 2018. In partnership with the State of Illinois, Springfield is proud to celebrate this milestone by hosting its own initiatives that compliment the efforts happening state-wide. Through the Illinois Bicentennial Springfield Coordinating Committee, Springfield can provide bicentennial activities that allow a discussion of our area’s complex history to serve as the entry point for a vision of our community 100 years from now. Stay connected and be a part of the 2018 events.

To keep up-to-date with local happenings visit www.Il200Springfield.org

To see what is planned throughout the state visit www.Illinois200.com

   Peoria Road TIF

The City of Springfield is seeking a qualified partner or partners to design and develop the North Mansion Block (The Block), bounded by Capitol, Fourth, Fifth, and Jackson Streets. The redevelopment opportunity is in the southern part of Springfield’s central business district, adjacent to the Illinois Governor’s Executive Mansion and located four blocks west of Abraham Lincoln’s home and three blocks east of the State Capitol building. Numerous office buildings are a short walk away. This is a unique opportunity to redevelop an entire city block, totaling 2.35 acres (102,400 sq. ft.). In addition, developers are invited to submit proposals for the YWCA Building at 421 E. Jackson Street. The City envisions market rate and workforce housing, retail and hospitality development with related amenities such as urban landscaping and public use spaces.

To view the proposed boundary map, click here.

To review the potential plan, click here.

   Pillsbury Plant

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing in mid-January 2017 to clean up a former food processing facility contaminated with asbestos waste. The facility, located at 1525 E. Phillips St., is called the Pillsbury Mills LLC Removal site by U.S. EPA. The Agency will use its authority under federal law to manage contamination that poses an imminent health threat. The former facility is contaminated with asbestos that was exposed during the demolition of buildings and scrapping of metal pipes. For more information about the Pillsbury Mills cleanup, visit the site’s webpage, www.epa.gov/il/pillsbury-mills-llc-removal-site.

An open house to meet one-on-one with U.S. EPA and state of Illinois staff to learn more about the project is set for January 24, 2017. Guests are welcome from 1-4 p.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Lincoln Library, 326 S. Seventh Street.

   Information About Open House

   EPA Presentation – January, 2016

   Police Body Cameras

The Springfield Police Department has outfitted police officers and sergeants in the Field Operations Division (with the exception of school officers) with body worn camera. On July 27, Police Chief Kenny Winslow and members of the department demonstrated the Axon Body 2 camera. Eight officers from the pilot project began wearing their body cameras full time on July 25, and the department is distributing cameras to the remaining 165 officers at a rate of about 25 officers every few weeks.

The cameras are mounted to an officer’s uniform by strong magnets and are activated by tapping two times. With a 142-degree field of view, the cameras capture a picture similar to what humans see. Weatherproofing and a rugged exterior protect the cameras from damage. The cameras constantly record 30 seconds of video – but not audio – in a temporary buffer, so when an officer activates her or his camera, the extra 30 seconds are added to the beginning of the new video file. If an incident happens before the officer can activate their camera, the extra half-minute of footage may provide context that would otherwise be missing. Each officer’s camera has a unique serial number, which is also digitally stamped on the video files. The files are encrypted on the camera and can’t be deleted except by a user with special permissions.

Senate Bill 1304 was signed into law on August 12, 2015 and went into effect January 1, 2016. The bill outlines the rules and requirements for agencies who choose to use the body cameras for police officers.

   Roundabouts

The new roundabout at the intersection at West Iles Avenue and Archer Elevator Road opened on December 11, 2017. The roundabout is an alternative option to a traffic signal to improve safety and reduce congestion. This roundabout also contains dedicated turn lanes which allow drivers to bypass the roundabout. Traffic heading west on Iles Avenue can use the turn lane to go north on Archer Elevator Road. Iles Avenue traffic heading east can use the turn lane to go south on Archer Elevator Road.

To read the driving, walking and cycling rules of the road, please click here.

To review the basic driving features of a roundabout, click here.

   Springfield Railroad Project

The Springfield Railroad Project will relocate all passenger and freight traffic from the Third Street corridor to Tenth Street; construct roadway underpasses at critical rail crossings on both the Tenth and Nineteenth Street corridors; and eliminate train horns in the City between Stanford Avenue and Sangamon Avenue. This project is being conducted in segments with a focus on planning and design, land acquisition, and eventually construction. The project is in partnership with the City of Springfield, Sangamon County and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The project is managed by Hanson Professional Services.

The next phase of the 10th Street Corridor is the construction of an underpass at Ash Street, from the east of 6th Street to the west of 10th Street. The closure went into effect on Monday, December 4 and will be permanent until the completion of the underpass in the summer of 2019.

Late October, the following five (5) Union Pacific Railroad crossings were closed permanently. These closures were the next step to acquire a “Quiet Zone” designation along the 3rd Street Corridor.

  • Union Street
  • Jackson Street
  • Canedy Street
  • Allen Street
  • Cedar Street

For more information about the project click below.
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For more information about the Railroad Project’s Community Resource Center click below.
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   Water Forum Q&A's

City Water, Light & Power hosted a public forum about the City of Springfield’s water resource. It was an open discussion where residents and organizations asked their questions to CWLP staff and the Mayor along with providing their ideas and feedback.

To review the questions and answers shared at the meeting, please click here .

For information about the progress of the City’s Supplemental Water Supply, click here.