SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The city of Springfield is hoping the Grant Avenue Parkway Project will bring tourism and help out a neighborhood past its prime.
“West Central was the premier neighborhood in Springfield 100 years ago,” said Caron Parnell, a neighborhood resident. “It was where everyone wanted to live. And that has changed.”
Signs of change are around the corner as the city plans to convert the road into a parkway linking Downtown Springfield with Wonders of Wildlife.
“We in West Central are really hoping it will bring more people into the neighborhood,” said Parnell.
For the first time since the pandemic, neighbors and the city met in person about zoning issues that’ll shape how the area will look.
“People have almost forgotten what it is like to talk to each other face to face, so this is kind of a fun event for a planner,” Randall Whitman, a principal planner for the city of Springfield.
The visit from the principal planner is also a time for people to voice concerns.
One resident who will go unnamed thinks the city should first fix underlying issues such as poverty, homelessness, drugs and crime.
“The amount of drugs that walk up and down that street,” said the resident. “The amount of homeless who walk up and down that street is absolutely absurd.”
There will continue to be questions, but the city hopes get-togethers like this will provide answers.
“The neighborhood, in general, is just really excited to see some more development,” said Parnell. “To just bring more people down here and to make them realize how great it is to live here.”
The project will cost about $26 million for just the streets. Federal grants provided $21 million of the funds needed.
Springfield said it is planning additional meetings in the coming weeks to talk more about the details.