Renovating Downtown Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill (WAND)- There are some major projects in the works to transform Downtown Springfield. 

Three of those projects were the topic of Friday's Citizens Club of Springfield forum. The projects discussed were: The Executive Mansion renovation, the Illinois Realtors Plaza and the Jackson Street Corridor. Once all three are finished, they aim to make Springfield a tourist destination. 

"The projects that we are mentioning here, the Realtor project and the mansion, will for the first time in history, it will allow total accessibility from Lincoln's home all the way up to the mansion which has never been achieved." said Kent Massie, from Massie, Massie and Associates. 

The forum served as a place for those involved with project to update members of the club, while answering questions and listening to feedback. 

"It's better to comment now than when it's done and say, 'Oh Golly, we should have done it this way." said Paul O'Shea, from FAIA. 

While the decision for what will become of the  old YWCA block has yet to be decided, it is on the minds of everyone as they work on completing the projects. 

"I think we need to think about that because there is going to be some planning going on and that next piece of property certainly has to complement this project." said one member listening to the forum. 

Nancy Bunn, Secretary for the Executive Governor's Association, while she has no preference as to what will occupy the block across from the mansion, she does hope that it will help enhance the block. 

"Yes, the aesthetics do matter, in terms of looking  north or south." she said. 

That idea is something that Gary Clayton, Executive Director of the Illinois Realtors, agrees with. Noting  all the work that is going into rehabbing the Executive Mansion, it would be a shame to block the view.

The developers are all excited to see the projects come together. 

"It's  going to be nice public spaces that are very versatile. Multi-use concerts to exhibitions, to festivals to farmers markets and so on. That's all part of the urban environment that people want to move downtown, and I think we have the space. It's the matter now of putting all the pieces together." said Massie. 

All projects will be complete by the Bicentennial celebration.

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