Downtown parking garage, Crowell-Collier, Derr Road: Top Springfield stories of 2019

This year was all about growth for the City of Springfield — both downtown and around the city.

The city moved forward with some long-discussed projects in 2019 including reconstruction of Derr Road and construction of a downtown townhome development.

But no construction project was more discussed in 2019 than the $7 million downtown parking garage, which broke ground on June 28.

The parking garage had been discussed by the Springfield City Commission for years as a way to provide additional parking downtown.

Here is a more in-depth look at the parking garage project and the other major Springfield-related stories reported by the Springfield News-Sun in 2019:

1. Springfield breaks ground on roughly $7 million downtown parking garage

Construction on the multi-million downtown parking garage began in early July, following the June 28 groundbreaking at the site.

The parking garage had been discussed by the Springfield City Commission for almost 10 years as a way to provide additional parking downtown as the city works to attract more retail and business to the city center, said Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck.

The garage will be three-stories and have over 305 parking spaces, the construction company in charge of building the garage said.

The commission approved the roughly $7 million downtown garage project in early June.

Over 3,000 square feet of retail space will also be available on the ground level of the garage along Fountain Avenue.

The garage is expected to be completed by April 2020.

The cost to park at the garage is still up in the air, Heck said, as conversations around the topic are ongoing.

Read the latest:Springfield breaks ground on new downtown parking garage

2. Crowell-Collier site demolished

Demolition on one of the oldest — and once largest — landmarks in Springfield was announced in July.

The City of Springfield approved a demolition permit of the property on July 18, and demolition began shortly afterward.

The once-900,000-square-foot property is now mostly a pile of bricks, as demolition on the site is nearly done.

The Springfield News-Sun has reached out several times to the property’s owner, Mosier Industrial, about what is next for the Crowell-Collier property but has never received a response.

Crowell-Collier — once the printing home of the world’s largest magazine publishing company — closed as a publishing plant in 1956.

The property was sold to Harry Denune in 1972, who used it to house his Dixie Distributing Co. motorcycle parts business.

The property caught fire in 1999 and again in 2011 before Denune sold it to Mosier in October 2011 for $1.5 million.

Read the latest:Plans unclear for Crowell-Collier site after demolition

3.Site work starts on $8M townhome development in downtown Springfield

Crews began work on the site of a new townhome housing development in downtown Springfield in late April.

Center Street Townes, a 34-unit project, will be located on the corner of Center and West Columbia streets.

The townhomes will be about 1,300 square feet and will cost about $200,000 — but future homeowners will also have a 15-year property tax exemption.

The $8 million project is being undertaken by Charles Simms Development. The firm has constructed 118 units in downtown Dayton over the last five years.

According to information on the developer’s website, each townhome will be three stories.

“(The floor plan) will feature an attached garage and first-floor foyer, bonus room read load garage and front door entry. The popular open truss ceiling will be a standard feature throughout the entire second floor, a powder room and large dine-in kitchen island, large kitchen pantry, dining room and living room all within steps that makes for an entertaining living level,” the company’s site says.

Simms said a model home will open in spring 2020.

Read the latest:Wait-list for new downtown Springfield townhomes over 20 people, developer says

4. Derr Road reconstruction moves ahead after roadblock

The project to reconstruct Derr Road is moving full steam ahead after receiving needed approval from the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee on Sept. 13.

The first phase of the project is estimated to cost $2.6 million.

In September, the TCC approved the amended project to reconstruct Derr Road from its current state, into a four-lane road with added designated turn lane and multi-use paths on either side of the road for pedestrians and bicyclists — commonly known as Alternative Four.

The project hit a roadblock in June when ODOT said they could not make a decision on the project because they hadn’t received enough information from the city and their consultant.

ODOT’s approval on the Derr Road project is needed in order for the city to receive state funding. In order to receive that funding, the city had to look for ways to reduce congestion and promote cleaner travel options, such as bicycles.

The final report was approved by ODOT weeks after the TCC meeting. Construction on Derr Road is slated to begin in 2020.

Read the latest:Derr Road reconstruction moves ahead, city to find funding

5. Springfield approves DORA and entertainment district

City commissioners approved two proposals in late February that focus on revitalizing downtown Springfield — the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area and the entertainment district.

The two proposals go hand-in-hand.

Under the DORA, residents are allowed to walk in certain areas of downtown with open containers of alcohol, while establishing a community entertainment district allows the city to add more liquor permits downtown.

Both the DORA and the entertainment district took effect on April 11, with Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company becoming the first bar in downtown Springfield to offer DORA cups.

People with cups are allowed to go anywhere within the specified DORA parameters. The boundaries extend as far north as Station I bar, as far west as Wittenberg Avenue, east to Spring Street and as far south as Monroe Street.

Read the latest: Springfield approves DORA and entertainment district proposals

About the Author