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$137M in capital improvements planned in city for 2022 

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As an annual act required by the city’s charter, Springfield City Council approved a resolution to adopt an updated version of the capital improvements program. 

The CIP provides a schedule of the city’s public improvements for 2022-27. As a planning document, it is subject to change, but the version submitted to council was recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission after a public hearing Jan. 13. 

At its meeting last night, council approved the CIP resolution by a vote of 8-0, with Councilperson Abe McGull absent from the meeting. 

Randall Whitman, principal city planner, said there are 128 planned capital improvement projects for 2022 with an estimated cost of $137 million. Projects eligible for inclusion are valued at $100,000 or more and have a useful life of at least six years, according to the resolution. Each project has an identified funding source. 

Whitman presented the CIP and a summary to council and noted it represents the best intentions for permanent improvement projects through 2027. 

“You’ll see the Jordan Creek renewal project; there’s numerous street, bridge and intersection improvement projects that are kicking off this year, including the Grant Avenue Parkway, Galloway, Division Street, another phase of the Central streetscape project,” he said.  

“There’s three new fire station projects either continuing or starting this year, new gateway and parking lot improvements on Commercial Street, streetscape improvements to portions of Jefferson Street, and we’ve got several trail projects starting, as well as a new section on Fassnight Greenway, South Creek Greenway, and of course acquisition and design of the Chadwick Flyer takes off this year,” he added. There’s a lot going on.” 

A breakdown in the plan’s summary shows the largest planned expenditures are street improvements, with 31 projects at a cost of $51.7 million. The plan also shows 29 sanitary sewer improvements proposed at a cost of $29.4 million. Eight targeted infrastructure improvements are proposed at $16.2 million. 

Other proposals include improvements to the airport, fire stations, municipal building and grounds, parks, solid waste, stormwater, traffic management, and walkability, bicycle and safety. 

Whitman said the CIP includes independent projects, like construction of new streets, parks and sewers, and improvements to public facilities and buildings, including acquisition. It also covers comprehensive programs for smaller improvements like sidewalks, sewer repair and neighborhood improvement projects. 

The CIP does not include funding for equipment, services, supplies, personnel or dangerous building demolition, Whitman said. 

All CIP projects and programs are vetted by city staff, and the CIP is a planning program designed to ensure transparency, he said. 

There are 157 projects proposed for funding from 2023 to 2027 at an estimated cost of $471.3 million. In 2021, 11 projects or programs were completed at a cost of $25 million, Whitman noted. 

According to the summary, the 11 projects include sanitary and stormwater sewer improvements; street improvements on Galloway Street and at the intersection of Pickwick Avenue and Cherry Street; traffic management system improvements, including signal improvements on National Avenue and Commercial Street; and sidewalk and trail projects. 

The biggest project concluded in 2021 was a sanitary sewer overflow control program, which cost $14.7 million. 

Councilperson Richard Ollis said he would like to hear more about the new CIP at one of council’s Tuesday lunch sessions. 

“Our capital improvement program really gets a lot of bang for our buck because many communities spend two or three times as much as a percentage as Springfield does,” Ollis said. 

Councilperson Andrew Lear questioned whether the current cost environment, including supply chain issues, has led to a systematic repricing of projects. 

Whitman said two staff accountants examine each project and reevaluate them annually. 

Dan Smith, Public Works director, added, “We are asking our consulting firms to reevaluate each estimate, and we are expecting prices to go up, so we’re doing that on an ongoing basis and evaluating the impact that may have on our overall program.” 

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