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Springfield City Council considers community center, residential developments

The Dream Center in north-central Springfield is shown on Sept. 30, 2023.
Gregory Holman/KSMU
The Dream Center in north-central Springfield is shown on Sept. 30, 2023.

Among many other issues, Springfield City Council held hearings on three community and residential rezoning plans Monday night.

In a city with a high poverty rate and recent history of confrontations over redevelopment proposals, Springfield’s highest elected leadership considered three projects on Monday night. We’ll touch on each one, moving from north to south through the city.

In north Springfield, Council is considering a zoning change for the nonprofit Dream Center that would allow it to sublease space to a Christian counseling service. The Dream Center is a faith-based community outreach located in the former Hamlin Baptist Church since 2017. The center provides a range of services with the goal of helping families achieve long-term stability, from after-school programs to food delivery for seniors.

Council members voiced praise for the place.

“The Dream Center has been like an oasis in that area," said Zone 2 Councilman Abe McGull. He represents northeast Springfield.

Next, we’ll stop by Grand Street and Market Avenue, a busy intersection eight blocks west of the Missouri State campus.

A developer wants to take a one-acre property and build a three-story apartment building with 30 dwelling units including buffer spaces and an outdoor living area. Council is looking at a rezoning plan that would allow medium-density housing at the site.

The site of a proposed three-story, 30-unit apartment building is shown on Sept. 30, 2023 along Grand Street and Market Avenue in central Springfield.
Gregory Holman/KSMU
The site of a proposed three-story, 30-unit apartment building is shown on Sept. 30, 2023 along Grand Street and Market Avenue in central Springfield.

Brandon Jenson, Zone 3 Councilman, represents the southwest quadrant of Springfield. He said neighborhood residents tell him there’s not enough crosswalks in that bustling center-city area.

Jenson said, “The Walmart Neighborhood Market to the south is the only grocery store that serves the entire neighborhood. So is the city considering any improvements — they added a median partly along Grand Street to help with some of the ingress and egress issues out of the Walmart Neighborhood Market. But is there any consideration of extending that median and/or ideally providing some sort of pedestrian connectivity across Grand?”

A city engineer responded that the city is working on an overall design study for Grand Street from Kansas Expressway all the way to the Missouri State University campus, including a trail and sidewalk project.

Finally, in southeast Springfield the owner of the Township 28 apartment complex presented a plan to add another apartment building at the site off Lone Pine Avenue. The developers’ original plan called for two new apartment buildings with 30 dwellings total, but they decided it was cheaper and more efficient to build just one building with 30 units.

Councilman Jenson suggested that the smaller single-building footprint would allow for more greenspace to help stormwater runoff, which has been a huge problem in the neighborhood around Galloway Creek. In 2008, for example, flash flood water levels reached three feet in just an hour, according to a state report.

Township 28 apartment complex in Springfield's Galloway neighborhood is shown on Oct. 2, 2023.
Gregory Holman/KSMU
Township 28 apartment complex in Springfield's Galloway neighborhood is shown on Oct. 2, 2023.

“It seems like there might be some benefits to stormwater management by this consolidation," Jenson said.

“That is correct," responded the developers' architect, Harlan Hill. "On a preliminary basis, I have calculated that we have provided a little additional, approximately about 10 percent more open space.”

Hill said he didn’t think the 30 new apartments in Galloway would prompt any more stormwater discharging into the city’s sanitation system.

All three rezoning plans are up for a Council vote on Oct. 16.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs.