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Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 09:54 am

Letters to the Editor 09/30/10


Fly dumping behind the abandoned former Kmart building on MacArthur Blvd. A better trash system and redevelopment of the inner city would both make Springfield a greener place to live.

I’m suprised to read that Springfield and Mayor Davlin are receiving credit for being a “green” city [see “Greener than thou,” by James Krohe Jr., Sept. 16]. Some initiatives that might help Springfield become a greener city are sometimes thought of as being impossible, yet other cities seem to do them well.

One example is having the city charge for trash pickup. We have multiple contractors that all cover the same neighborhoods on different days of the week and some residents opt not to pay for collection, which encourages fly dumping. The solution is to have the city contract sections of town to each contractor, then the city collects for trash on the water/sewer bills and distributes the fees to the contractors. Money can be saved on fuel and maintenance costs since mileage driven on the routes is reduced.

Example two is the continual dragging of feet on the promotion of bicycle routes through town. This does not always mean building new trails. There are a number of streets in town that can be marked as bike routes with little cost. The Bicycle Advisory Committee has been formed but still needs active participation from city government to act on issues that are identified. Springfield is light years behind cities like Bloomington, St. Louis, Indianapolis, etc. in development of bicycle routes.

Example three is not promoting the rehabbing of existing neighborhoods and promoting the continual spreading of new construction. This puts a strain on city police and fire protection services and promotes more driving within the city itself. This also contributes to the traffic jamming that is a constant on the west side. The solution is to promote both residential and business development in older neighborhoods. This would clean up some of the older neighborhoods and also create a city that would have shopping throughout. Some headway is being made in the Enos Park area. MacArthur Blvd. and the adjacent neighborhoods are a great place to start a major campaign. Why does all retail shopping have to be done on one side of the city?

These are some of the things I’ve seen in other cities that appear to work and would truly help put Springfield on the green city map.

Mike Eymann

I am shocked that Springfield would even be considered green. I am aware of CWLP, but that was forced by the Sierra Club. There is only one recycling center! They don’t take glass, so where do you take glass? It is located on (of course) the west side of town. What about us east and north enders?

The bus does not come out to where I live, and due to all the buildup (White Oaks should have been the end of it) out west, the inner city is turning into a slum. Thanks leaders!

Mary Perkinton

Editor’s note: The City of Springfield is sponsoring a colored glass collection Sat., Oct. 2, 8 a.m. to noon at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, parking lot 21. Enter at Gate 11 at Eighth St. and Sangamon Ave. All colors of glass – clear, brown, green and blue – will be accepted from residents.

I was irked by the illustration used in your story about MacArthur re-development [see “Plugging leaks in MacArthur’s market,” Sept. 16].

The picture, from a proposal by The Lakota Group, is of a title loan shop, gussied up to look prettier. The glut of title loan shops on MacArthur is symbolic of the district’s decline, and prettying them up is not going to save the neighborhood or other businesses struggling there. Dressing up the loan shops is like “fixing” a pasture by spray-painting the cow patties gold.

The story makes a good point that a food shop, deli or restaurant needs to be in the development to help anchor it. A Trader Joe’s would be an incredible “get” for such a development. Aldi is already in Springfield, and TJ’s is part of their company.

But what the redevelopment needs most is a central theme, a purpose. A great one would be to recast the area of the bowling alley and empty Kmart into a senior living enclave. Not a nursing home, but a set of efficiency-sized condo/apartments for active retired seniors who are gearing down from a big high-maintenance house and yard, to smaller places, part of a walkable surrounding complex that doesn’t require residents to own a car.

Look at any census data you like: the general population is aging, and there will be a booming market for senior living enclaves like this, where you can  live efficiently and independently, and get all your basic needs and see your friends by walking a block or two, exploring the rest of the city as needed by hopping the bus or a taxi.

Name withheld by request

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