SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A group of community leaders in Springfield launched an initiative to revitalize northside heritage neighborhoods to encourage more people to invest and move there.

Councilman Richard Ollis is part of Restore SGF along with other members of the Springfield community.

“When we talk about heritage neighborhoods, they’re not all on the northside of town,” said Ollis. “But certainly, the older neighborhoods that have been around for decades, and maybe have seen a bit of wear and tear, but, frankly, are ripe for redevelopment .”

Ollis said they’re bringing together groups and incentives to encourage people to reinvest in these heritage neighborhoods.

“Existing homeowners as well as banks, realtors, developers, and, frankly, community-minded individuals, like myself, that just want to see our community grow and thrive,” said Ollis.

Jeff Kester, the CEO of Greater Springfield Board of Realtors, said people aren’t moving into the northside right now because a stereotype involving crime and nuisance properties has been associated with the area.

“It’s sad that people say those things or have those perceptions because we’ve got a lot of great neighborhoods that may have that perception and not the reality of it,” said Kester. “You’ve got an abundance of rental properties as opposed to homeownership opportunities.”

Fairbanks owner Amy Blansit said more people are renting, which doesn’t lend to a sense of pride in where you live.

“With that decreased sense of pride in ownership, we begin to see mobility,” said Blansit. “So, kids are going from school to school because they’re changing rental situations. It becomes an actual social issue for our community.”

Restore SGF is hoping to eventually become a program and one-stop-shop for people seeking homeownership in these neighborhoods.