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Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 12:17 am

Letters to the Editor 1/11/18

Rick Lawrence, developer, hopes for a brighter day soon for his Bright New Day downtown apartments project. The city council is expected to vote on a new financing package soon.
Photo By David Hine



Bright New Day Investments, LLC, Rick Lawrence’s downtown project on the corner of Sixth Street and Monroe, is before the City Council with a TIF request. Mistakes have been made in the initial phase of this project, and Mr. Lawrence has admitted this. He’s working to satisfy payment issues and welcomes oversight. Furthermore, the current partners, the bankers, investors and city, have put in the time to mitigate the risk. This group has been diligent in the details, and checks and balances are in place to avoid future cost overruns and payment issues.

Prior to this massive redevelopment, the city had three historic buildings sitting vacant, generating little for the tax rolls. Once completed, downtown will have new housing, retail and office spaces. The properties will be generating 20 times the amount in property tax in addition to the sales tax from the new economic activity.

We need to learn from other cities in our situation. Bright New Day Investments is a textbook project for why TIF was created. Denying this project funding sends a strong message to developers considering future projects in downtown or the city. It’s time to change the culture and business environment in the city. Please, let’s work together as a community for the community. Please find a way to make this and future downtown development happen. I encourage you to please support this request.

Court Conn
Chairman of the board
Conn’s Hospitality Group


My thanks to James Krohe, Jr. for the wonderful article, titled “No mere bump on a log,” about Logan Hay, in the Dec. 21 edition of Illinois Times. In a way, Mr. Hay shaped my life. His family and my mother’s family spent their summers in the same Michigan resort, where he met my father, Benjamin P. Thomas. Mr. Hay was looking for a replacement for Paul Angle, the executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Association. My father had a Ph.D. in history and was an associate professor of history at Birmingham Southern College when Mr. Hay hired him. It was under Mr. Hay’s leadership that my father wrote the book Lincoln’s New Salem. In his later book, Portrait for Posterity, my dad wrote, “To produce even a paper under the close scrutiny of Logan Hay was something of an ordeal, but one learned more than any graduate faculty was likely to teach him.”

Although Mr. Hay always insisted that the various Association secretaries should have full credit for the books that bore their names as author, a great deal of him went into everything they wrote. Constantly peering over their shoulders as they worked were his kindly but questioning eyes. As a critic he was unexcelled; with loose writing or loose thinking he was merciless. When one made a statement or offered a conjecture in his presence, he had better be prepared to back it up.

Paul Angle added, “Passage after passage was rewritten until it met Logan Hay’s approval. In the process a competent piece of writing became a brilliant one.”

Because of Logan Hay, my parents moved to Springfield, my mother’s hometown. Because of Mr. Hay, my father became a Lincoln scholar who wrote Abraham Lincoln, the best selling one-volume life of our 16th president. He wrote other books, too, but his Lincoln biography, which was first published in 1952, is still in print and is still recognized as one of the best biographies of Lincoln.

Some of Mr. Hay’s descendants still live here, among them are grandchildren Margaret Schlipf Van Meter, Logan Hay Schlipf, and Donald Hay Funk. Andy VanMeter, Sangamon County Board chairman, is his great-grandson.

Sarah H. Thomas


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