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Springfield's Midtown Neighborhood Gains National Recognition

Springfield’s Midtown community has made it to the top10 in the national race for being named Neighborhood of the Year by Neighborhood USA. KSMU’s Chasity Mayes tells us how Midtown is getting its fifteen minutes of fame.

After it was established in 1989, Springfield’s Midtown Neighborhood Association has made it a mission to preserve the character and quality of living in the midtown area. Over the past 20 years, the neighborhood has hosted annual events to bring the people of the community together, and it looks like it might be paying off.

“I think it’s going to really boost and encourage other neighborhoods.”

That’s Janet Dankert, a board member of the Midtown Neighborhood Association. She says the top prize for winning the contest is 500 dollars, but it’s the ability to showcase Midtown’s hard work that means the most.

“I think that it’s just, in our neighborhood’s mind, it’s recognition city wide especially for work that we have done over the past 20 years. We’ve been slowly over time developing recognition for who we are as a neighborhood association as well as the events that we offer. And many of the events that we offer we do offer to the whole city. Really, it’s to showcase what a true urban neighborhood is like,” says Dankert.

Midtown, which is considered to be any part of Springfield within the borders of East National Avenue, West Booneville Avenue, North Commercial Street, and South Chestnut Expressway plays host to several events throughout the year such as the Old Fashioned Fourth of July Parade and The Victorian Christmas Homes Tour.

However, it was Midtown’s successful participation in a city wide event called “Neighborhood Night Out” that Dankert feels gave them an edge in making it to the top 10. Last August the historic neighborhood welcomed over 600 faces to Washington Park for a night of free food, games, and live music.

Neighborhoods USA is the only organization nationwide that offers annual awards recognizing community preservation and improvement.

For KSMU News, I’m Chasity Mayes.