The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the planning process for Forward SGF, the city of Springfield's 20-year comprehensive initiative, but a draft document is nearly complete, according to the project manager.
Randall Whitman, principal planner and Forward SGF project manager, updated Springfield City Council on the setback and progress during the governmental body's March 22 workshop, according to a news release. The comprehensive planning process started in June 2019 originally was estimated to take two years to complete.
“Under normal circumstances, that timeline would have been easily achieved. However, the last two years have created some challenges,” Whitman said in the release. “The development of any community plan, especially one as diverse as this one, depends greatly on one-on-one interaction with residents, elected officials and members of the planning and consulting team. We anticipate a draft available for community review in late spring and adoption by the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council sometime this summer.”
During the past year, city staff and a hired consultant, Chicago-based Houseal Lavigne Associates LLC, have worked on shaping a preliminary draft of the plan.
The plan largely revolves around quality of place, Whitman told council members.
"Quality of place can be easily defined as the creation of a desirable and economically vibrant city to live, work and play," he said in the release. "Forward SGF is dependent on a structured flow of information, organized around key planning elements that shape community growth that also speak to community priorities."
The Grant Avenue Parkway project is among future highlights that have been identified by Houseal Lavigne Associates, according to past reporting.
The structure of the plan, according to Whitman, involves stewardship, complete neighborhoods and a vital economy. Key initiatives include neighborhood revitalization projects, city code reform, closing trail network gaps, growth and annexation, and beautification projects, according to the release.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May the all-items inflation index surged 8.6% over the past year, the highest increase since 1981.