Thursday, August 1, 2019

Proposed ordinance declares city's 'full support' for downtown university presence

While long considered the most logical site for a downtown university presence, city officials made it clear Tuesday that the city-owned Y-block is just one option on the table.

An ordinance declaring the city’s support for an effort to bring a university presence to downtown Springfield sailed through the city council’s Committee of the Whole Tuesday evening, but not before adopting an amendment that significantly broadened the language to be less site-specific.

“The other way it was written, it was a little Y-block-heavy, so to speak,” said Mayor Jim Langfelder. “And really, the intent is to just support the university developments downtown that could be.”

According to the proposed ordinance, “the city of Springfield is in full support of” a proposed downtown development that would be shared by the University of Illinois Springfield and Southern Illinois University.

The original ordinance was site-specific, leaning heavily on the Y-block site as a future location for the proposed campus. But Langfelder said the change in language was prompted by a meeting with state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, and officials from UIS and SIU, who sought not to limit themselves to the constraints of a one city block.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on July 31, 2019.

Read the entire story online.