The Greater Springfield Moving Forward Program was started by the Chamber is 2010 and includes input and support from key community partners and leaders including the Springfield and Turner Foundations, Cox Media, the City of Springfield and Clark County.
In 2010, The Springfield News-Sun served as a site host for a citizens’ survey asking for feedback regarding key areas such as economic development, education and workforce. The survey polled resident on how to improve Springfield’s image, how to revitalize the area and strengthen local resources.
Parks and Greenspaces
Mayor Warren Copeland and
Tom Loftis, Co-chairs
The Clark County Parks District was honored by the Ohio Parks & Recreation Association for having one of one of the best projects in the state this past year, the 78-acre Mad River Gorge & Nature Preserve — the largest climbing area in Ohio. The Ohio Climbers Coalition worked with local volunteers and CCPD staff to make the project a reality. The climbing park allows climbers to scale cliffs up to 50-feet.
A traffic consultant hired by the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee recently studied modifying the Plum Street Bridge to connect Veterans Park and Snyder Park. The consultant, Burgess & Niple, also recently completed a study examining where bike trails could be added to connect Snyder Park, Mad River Gorge Park and George Rogers Clark Park.
The Clark County Master Gardeners and OSU Extension have five gardens in place at Snyder Park Gardens & Arboretum. These gardens include the Annual Trial Bed, Turf Grass Demonstration, The Garden of Eatin’, Victory Garden, and The Early Settler’s Garden. They hope to start their pavilion in the fall as they are still fundraising for this portion of their project.
National Trails Parks & Recreation District is working with the Partners for the Parks to organize a fundraising effort for refurbishing the tennis courts at Snyder Park. With this project we would resurface the entire area, leaving three tennis courts and constructing 6-8 pickleball courts.
The Springfield Conservancy District has been awarded a Clean Ohio Grant to purchase the 76-acre Kirby Farm adjacent to Old Reid Park. The land will now be preserved as parkland. The property includes a former home and several decaying barn structures; those will be demolished as part of the project.
John Landess, Chair
Downtown found itself in a transition year as it absorbed several new businesses that opened in the last half of 2016, including Hatch Artist Studios, Mothers Stewarts Brewing Company, Winan’s Chocolate & Coffee, as well as Champion City Hair Studio. There are many other projects being worked behind the scenes which will very likely blossom in 2018. Several of these cannot be discussed publicly yet, but very likely will be announced in the first half of the year. A couple that are in process include the use of the former McAdam’s Building (soon to be rebranded as The Historic Wren Building) and its corresponding 56 apartments and multiple storefront spaces; and The Historic Myers Market Building, returning as a community marketplace. There will be two new stores opening in the old Meek’s storefronts this Spring. First, in February we have Stick + Stone opening, incorporating several new artists that will be showcasing their work together, followed by the expected announcement this spring of a downtown bakery. The Springfield Farmers Market continues to grow downtown, and the winter market at Mother Stewart’s has been a great success. As I mentioned, there are several other very important projects in the works we can’t discuss at this point, but stay tuned for more announcements in the months to come!
Corridors and Gateways
Jim Bodenmiller and Dale Henry, Co-Chairs
Work toward improving Springfield’s corridors and gateways continued in 2017. The main focus this past year was on South Limestone. The Transportation Coordinating Committee (TCC) concluded a transportation planning study for the South Limestone corridor from Leffel Lane to the Selma Road intersection. The corridor currently experiences many issues related to traffic safety, traffic flow and aesthetics, yet has great economic development and community building potential. The study team engaged local stakeholders and neighborhood residents to work through some of these issues and potential countermeasures. The result of the study is a four-phased series of construction projects that recognize the varying character areas of the corridor and provide a long-term path forward for growth and revitalization of the area. Improvements identified range from simple striping and traffic signal changes at Leffel Lane, to traffic narrowing, calming and beautification components from John Street to Selma Road. Work must now begin on identifying and securing federal aid and other grant funding for the various phases of the project, which is expected to be completed incrementally as funding is available over the next five to 10 years.
The Kroger Company has continued to show strong interest in building a new 123,000 square foot Kroger Marketplace south of the Interstate 70 / State Route 72 interchange. This project also includes a Kroger Fuel Center, as well as opportunities for out-lot development in front of the new store along Route 72. Road improvements as well as a traffic signal will be included as part of the project. This multi-million dollar investment will serve as a catalyst for future growth of other commercial and residential development at the I-70 / Route 72 interchange, which sees approximately 60,000 cars per day. If the project moves forward as hoped, it will significantly enhance the South Limestone corridor.
The I-70 widening project received funding, including some enhancements to the I 70 / Route 72 overpass. The interchange will receive a face lift with new entry features on the bridge over Route 72, and some preliminary site work in the cloverleaf areas.
In other areas, work is being planned for entry sign features at the northern and western entryways into
Jobs and Job Readiness
Jim Lagos, Chair
Workforce is the number one issue and priority for employers today and that has been the focus of the Jobs & Job Readiness Task Force. Addressing the issue involves understanding the dilemma and developing creative solutions. This requires many to be involved beginning with the business community who defines the challenge and has a willingness to participate with the solutions. It also requires a tremendous amount of partnership among many different organizations. One such partnership is focused on ACT Work Ready Communities. The Jobs & Job Readiness Task Force has chosen the ACT National Career Readiness Credential as the credential of choice for employers in Clark County. Over the past year, the Chamber, Department of Job & Family Services of Clark County and Clark State Community College have been working diligently on behalf of the Task Force to qualify Clark County as a certified community. Implementation will occur throughout 2018. The Task Force will continue to address ongoing workforce challenges for the foreseeable future.