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Thursday, March 25, 2010 01:35 am

SIMPSON THE SPRAWL-FIGHTER

Ward 2 Alderman Gail Simpson addressed the local chapter of the Sierra Club March 23 and aired her frustration about not only how the east side of Springfield’s development has been forgotten by city leaders, but also with the lack of long- range planning from the city.

“People from all over the city shop at Penney’s [on the east side of Springfield], Simpson said. “You’d think that developers would create other businesses there.”

 The alderman, who is sometimes the only no vote against westward expansion in Springfield, said, “It’s not about me not liking the west side. It’s about me wanting Springfield to be the best city it can be.

“The city of Springfield should be visiting other cities nearby and bringing back ideas for improvement,” she said.

Noting that Springfield has a racial divide as well as an economic divide, Simpson said, “We’ve got to act like neighbors.

“Realtors are at the crux of the issue [westward expansion],” she said, “because they steer people west. We need to develop coalitions to promote smart growth.”

Simpson called for more neighborhood groups working together. “You’ve got to get people to think it’s okay to build on the east side.”
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