Friday, January 17, 2020

UIS, SIU make first joint remarks at DSI awards on downtown proposal

In a room filled with some of the city’s biggest movers and shakers Thursday evening, representatives from the University of Illinois Springfield and Southern Illinois University said they are still “planning” but hope to share their collective space needs and programming desires for a downtown university district soon.

“We are planning,” said John Charles, SIU’s executive director for governmental and public affairs, who spoke alongside Bruce Sommer, UIS’s director of economic development and innovation, at Downtown Springfield Inc.’s 27th annual awards dinner at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre.

“But, in the coming weeks, we look forward to solidifying a business plan and sharing with you our goals for this downtown innovation district.”

“When your industry, when your businesses grow, we all benefit,” Sommer told the several hundred in the room, which included several downtown business owners.

UIS re-established its downtown presence in August 2018 when it assumed control of Innovate Springfield, a social innovation and business incubator that now houses a hub in the Illinois Innovation Network. That University of Illinois system-led initiative is meant to foster economic growth through research and innovation by connecting hubs around the state to the flagship Discovery Partners Institute, a Chicago-based research institute.

Both institutions say that the project will have a greater impact if they work together along with the surrounding business community.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 16, 2020.

Read the entire article online.