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Wednesday, May 27, 2009 11:33 am

Letters to the Editor

Volunteers helped clean this planting bed in Washington Park.
Train station investment

The Amtrak Station needs renovation. Let me congratulate the city council for supporting this worthy TIF project.
The Amtrak folks at the Illinois Department of Transportation are a big boost to Springfield tourism; last year 157,540 passengers used the Springfield Amtrak station, compared to 113,199 who used Capital Airport. Amtrak distributes a Bed and Breakfasts guide statewide, free of charge. Listed for Springfield are four who participate: the Henry Mischler House, the Inn at 835, Ripon-Kinsella House and the Pasfield House Inn.
For years Sen. Richard Durbin and now Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood have been working on improving the Chicago to St. Louis rail corridor, getting us ready for high-speed rail. There is a good chance that federal stimulus funds will make it happen. Then we will really see passenger train ridership climb.
Amtrak recently reported a six percent increase in ridership, placing more heads on beds. The hotel-motel tax generated will increase as a result; the impact on downtown shopping and dining, resulting in sales tax revenue, is undeniable. Union Pacific’s property tax bill this year is $249,681. There may not be a better return on TIF dollars this year.

Springfield’s passenger train depot should become a popular tourist site in itself. The location was the last stop of President Lincoln’s funeral train. Visitors could be directed to the other depot, where the president-elect made his famous Springfield farewell address or to the other Lincoln sites. I’ll help as volunteer curator.

First impressions count. Just think, visitors might stay another day. I can’t think of a more appropriate use of TIF funds. Thank you Mayor Davlin and the city council.
Tony Leone, owner
Pasfield House Inn

Quotes of note

“One does not live by bread alone.”
Deuteronomy 8:1-3
“One needs LPGA State Farm Classic at Panther Creek Country Club.”
Jarosz 6:1-7
Fred Jarosz, executive director
Hoogland Center for the Arts

Washington Park volunteers

I would like to thank the very dedicated group of volunteers that participated in the “Split for the Park” event last Saturday, May 9, in Washington Park. Thanks to their hard work, the main planting beds at the play ground were cleaned up, more than 100 donated and purchased plants were split and more than 350 plants in all were laid out and planted. Mulch donated by Chapman Stone and Henry Nelch & Sons finished out the project. All this was accomplished in just a little over three hours. In total, the Friends of Washington Park volunteer group and the Springfield Parks Foundation contributed approximately $1,800 in plants and materials to the Park District. Without passionate, dedicated park patrons like these volunteers and contributors, projects like this one would not be possible. I would also like to thank Chuck Smith, Chad Scaife and their staffs with the Springfield Park District for supporting the volunteer efforts in Washington Park.
The Friends of Washington Park volunteers have been supporting efforts such as this within the park over the last two years. If you would like to be a part of the Friends of Washington Park volunteer effort please call Doug at 553-1329 or e-mail f16ratt@mac.com. The next scheduled work day for the Friends of Washington Park volunteers will be May 30 from 7-10 a.m. We will be trimming back the 2000 tulips that were planted last fall within the park and replacing them with new plants to spruce up the park entry signs for summer.
Doug Reynolds
Chairman, Friends of Washington Park Committee

Lack of insurance kills

I’d like to see the same system here that they have in Europe and Canada. If I didn’t have to buy health insurance I’d gladly pay 10 bucks a gallon for gas! I spend a whole lot more on health care than I do on transportation, and I’m healthy.

My best friend was two weeks shy of his 40th birthday in 1992 when he died from lack of health insurance. His heart disease was treatable but unaffordable, since his employer didn’t offer insurance. Because of this I consider the insurance industry to be his murderers. If Jim had lived in Canada or Europe (or even Cuba) he’d be alive today.

Steve McGrew
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