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Some of the most important issues brought up by residents Monday included looking to battle generational poverty, bring more business to downtown Springfield and ensure job opportunities and other resources are available to all parts of the county.
Elise Hagan, who is with Americorps Vista working with the Springfield Promise Neighborhood, said she’s glad to see Clark County increasingly attract new jobs. But she said she’s concerned that some parts of Springfield have a tougher time attracting jobs that pay a liveable wage.
“All of the horn-blowing of bringing business to Springfield, we don’t see it on the south side,” Hogan said.
The area has had some success bringing new attractions downtown. The News-Sun reported last week that the Myers Market building at 101 S. Fountain Ave. will soon undergo a $1.75 million renovation. The restored venue will eventually host amenities like space for small business owners and a year-round artisan’s marketplace.
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Pat Williams, a Springfield native who pushed for the project, said drawing more people downtown could easily create a tipping point that could attract new investment to the city. But he said local leaders need to be aggressive and market downtown to businesses in neighboring cities to make it work.
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“The city should be as regulation-free as they can right now in that corridor,” Williams said.
Residents also discussed options to provide more opportunities to children and adults to battle stubborn issues like generational poverty. One suggestion included expanding Clark State Community College’s Champion City Scholars program to students at an earlier age.
Middle School students who are accepted and complete that program can receive three years of tuition-free education at Clark State.