Capitol City Mayor Determined To Revitalize Downtown

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Springfield, IL - Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder has an agenda. An agenda he believes will be good for the downtown area and all of Springfield. He said that "first and foremost we need to bring down the YWCA", referring to the old YWCA building across the street north of the Governor's Mansion. He also said the building is deteriorating, has an open roof and asbestos issues. he stated that once the building comes down, the entire block will become a prime piece of real estate ready for downtown development. Currently the old "Y" is the only building on the block flanked by parking lots. Although the city council denied his request to hire a consulting firm to explore what to do with the block once demolition is complete, he did receive good news for students that plan on living downtown. Last year a group called Bluffstone ask the city for $700,000 in TIF funds to build student housing downtown. The Springfield City Council voted against the request saying they weren't comfortable with some of the open ended questions. However, Bluffstone decided to proceed with their project and recently broke ground to begin building. Another idea the Mayor is floating is free Wi-Fi for the downtown area. He says it would be good for not only visitors, but for citizens that frequent the cafe's and restaurants allowing them to find out more about the businesses located in the historic square area. He said the city would foot the bill for the free internet. He also mentioned that to get people excited about coming downtown, they need to "see structures coming out of the ground". Three downtown businesses have ceased operation recently, and there's still space for rent in the Capitol City. Business owners say the Mayor has some work to do, but they're looking forward to positive results.

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