Downtown Springfield wants to support its businesses, which means time to revamp – and the businesses are happy for the change.
Two major changes will affect Main St., where the majority of the local businesses in the neighborhood are located. Though the conversion to a two-way street addition may temporarily negatively affect the businesses as drivers become accustomed to the change, the city finds the benefits outweigh those affects, according to management analyst Courtney Griesel. By enforcing stricter parking regulations, she believes that shoppers will find it easier to park and shop on a whim.
Griesel said that she is “sadly excited about all of the projects.” She added that she thinks it’s fun to see the community support the development of main street. The 10-year Springfield resident sees Main St. as a larger community with a focus on its residents and the businesses.
“People park in front of businesses all day long,” Griesel said. “We threaten but don’t enforce, and people don’t take us seriously.”
Parking would still be free with an option to purchase a day long permit. With 2-hour parking spots constantly opening up all day long, Griesel said she hopes that drivers will find an incentive to stop and browse in a shop that they would have otherwise driven past.
One of those stores might be Sweety’s, a self-serve frozen yogurt business. Sweety’s owner Jack Koehler has seen downtown Springfield change and develop into a safer community.
“There’s an idea that Springfield is ‘scary,’ but that’s changing,” Koehler said. “The light and activity of the city drives the badness away.”
And with bars and restaurants such as adult club Silver Lace leaving, along with the city projects, the look of Springfield will change into a more family friendly atmosphere, he said.
But not everyone sees Springfield as a scary place to be.
“I don’t notice any crime if there is any,” Three-year resident Christian Rodriguez said. “It seems calm here.”
The 19-year-old Lane Community College student said he sees it as a good community full of people who want to help one another.
And although he is happy to see the bars go away Koehler said he is skeptical about the multi-billion dollar changes to the city.
“I’m not really excited about any of the projects right now,” Koehler said. “The projects in store are going to change the look of the whole area.”