News

DSI Seeks Marketing Support

Downtown Springfield, Inc. (DSI) has initiated a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to identify a vendor, agency, consortium or contract employee (Agent) who is/are qualified to provide day-to-day marketing services showcasing Downtown Springfield as a growing, vibrant neighborhood & business district.
The duties require an Agent who has demonstrated experience in multimedia content creation and distribution. Agent will work closely with the DSI Executive Director and Promotions Committee to plan and execute marketing activities for the association.

Download the Request for Proposals for Marketing Services 2018

Timeline
Request for Proposal Released – January 11, 2018
Questions Due – January 29, 2018
Proposals Due – Friday, February 2, 2018 by 5 pm
Interview Period – February 7-9, 2018
Planned Contract Award Date – February 12, 2018

Nominees for Downtown’s Best of 2017

Ace Sign and SAA shared an award for the Art Benches project for 2016. Who will win for 2017?

On January 25, Downtown Springfield Inc. will hold its 25th Annual Dinner–including awards recognizing the most buzzworthy people and places in downtown over the past year.

After a public nomination period which ended in November, the Awards Committee is thrilled to announce the 2017 nominees in each of the following categories. Award Committee Chair Jane Mosey-Nicoletta is a Past President and past Volunteer of the Year winner at DSI. “Thanks to everyone who weighed in on the nominees this year — we have a great mix of new and old favorites who people really root for,” said Mosey-Nicoletta.

The 2017 winners, along with Green Leadership Award winner, Downtown Advocate, DSI Volunteer of the Year and Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced during the Dinner.

This is DSI’s biggest fundraiser and party of the year to support our work to increase Volume (ie foot traffic), fill Vacancies, increase Vitality and create a shared Vision for downtown’s future. Get your tickets before the early bird deadline of January 16 to support our work in 2018 and to celebrate a year of growth and change in Springfield’s downtown district in 2017>

Look back at DSI Award History 2008-2016

Best Signage
The Roost
Springfield Vintage
Tacology 101

Impactful Public/Private Partnership
Sangamon CEO Program
SAA’s Paint the Street
Urban Sassafras Parklet with IL Realtors/CAR & City of Springfield

Best Downtown Event
DSI’s Friends of the Market Street Dinner
Fat Ass 5K
The Parent Place’s Halloween Parade

Best Retail
The Roost
Springfield Vintage
Urban Sassafras

Best Restaurant
Long Nine Junction
Maldaner’s
Tacology 101

Best Nightlife
Floyd’s Thirst Parlor
The Legacy Theater
Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery

Innovative Business Concept
Hair of the Dog Bar/bershop
Urban Sassafras Take & Make Kits

People’s Choice Holiday Walks Window
Augie’s Front Burner
Murphy’s Loft
Wild Rose

Best Advocate
Brent Boesdorfer
Linda Renehan
Erin Svendsen

Best Renovation
Loukinen’s on Fourth
St. George Building

Best NFP Initiative
100+ Who Care
186 Foundation Pop-Up Bookstore
Central Baptist Feast of Plenty Thanksgiving Meal

Best Creative Promotion
Incredibly Delicious‘ Social Media Cake Campaigns
Urban Sassafras Girls’ Night Out
Willow & Birch‘s Countdown to Downtown

Spotlight: Youngest Holiday Pop-Up Proprietor

As part of its focus on economic vitality, DSI facilitated a number of pop-up stores for the Holiday Walks again this year, to launch new entrepreneurs and highlight great downtown first-floor commercial spaces that deserve a permanent tenant. The pop-ups are possible because of generous property owners who worked with DSI to provide no-cost, low-cost or utilities-only leases for the five weeks of the Walks.

Read more about the other six downtown Holiday Walk pop-ups>

Proprietor Aaliyah Kissick meets the Lincolns during Small Business Saturday. Her pop up is open thru the Walks.

The youngest “proprietor” of our 2017 pop-up program is a 17-year-old senior at Athens High School, who is building on the legacy of the Myers Brothers Department Store at Washington & Fifth by trying out a brick-and-mortar experience in the former Mens Department.

Aaliyah Kissick started AK Boutique, an online retail outlet featuring modern, trendy clothes in June 2017 with support from friends and family. “The Boutique combines two of my great loves: deals and fashion,” says the former Miss Jr.  Teen Illinois and in-demand model (including at the Dare to be Different Fashion Show in August which highlighted twelve downtown stores with women’s clothing). “My motto is ‘We take the work out of thrifting for you’ so you don’t have to be overwhelmed or worried you won’t find something perfect for you,” she says. The clothes she hand-picks for sale are all popular within the last three years, with most items under $15.

Aaliyah has been drawn to the retail world as early as she can remember. She says that since she was about three feet tall, she always made a beeline toward the clearance sections of clothing stores with the natural inclination to organize the jungle of disorganized, packed racks.

After a brief stint working at a local clothing store, she knew she could put her own personal stamp and style on a retail venture. Her emphasis is on making every “body” look beautiful and taking the guesswork out of thrifting for her customers.

Her personal goal with AK Boutique has been to save as much as she can to attend college for a business degree. The opportunity to branch out as a brick-and-mortar for the holidays was an opportunity she just couldn’t pass up, both for the experience and the potential to increase her sales.

AK Boutique offers:
-Sizes XXS to 5X
-Long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, sweaters, jackets, coats, holiday dresses, casual dresses, jeans, dress pants, leggings, skirts, shoes, and purses
-Friendly, helpful staff

Her goal after college? To open a permanent retail boutique in Springfield, of course!

Fashion Show on December 9

On Saturday, December 9, AK Boutique will be hosting a fashion show at 2 pm in the pop-up located at 101 S 5th Street (Washington Street Entrance) and everyone is encouraged to come and check out the available clothing and styled looks. “The models will be local girls with natural beauty to celebrate body positivity,” says Aaliyah.

About the Space

This is the second year that the Myers Brothers Building has hosted a pop-up in the first floor space. It has a beautiful interior and a great history. After decades as one of the city’s top shopping destinations, Myers Brothers Department Store sold out to Bergner’s in 1979, which operated in that location until it moved out to the mall in 1986. AG Edwards had their offices there from 1987-97, and then the non-profit Illinois Assistive Technology Program moved to Spring Street in 2015. To inquire about leasing the space, contact Myers Commercial Realty.

 

Buy Your Tickets to Celebrate 25 Years of DSI

The 25th anniversary of the founding of Downtown Springfield Inc. by business and city leaders is nearly here! Join us (fittingly) on January 25, 2018 for DSI’s Annual Dinner, an evening that will entertain and dazzle, honoring our growing neighborhood and the people who make it special.

Support DSI’s work by purchasing a table or individual tickets now>

This is the biggest fundraiser that DSI holds every year to fund our work. DSI is a 501(c)6 business association that is funded primarily by business memberships, fundraiser and event sponsorships. As a Main Street organization, we undertake a plethora of activities to increase the economic and cultural vitality of downtown Springfield. Our 2017 work led by paid staff, a volunteer board of directors and hundreds of community volunteers, included working on business attraction and small business issues, advocating for more residential units, and promoting this neighborhood as a destination for dining, shopping and socializing. We are also well-known for our 2017 events including the Art Alley Pop-Up, Old Capitol Farmers Market, Amaranth Apple Festival, Friends of the Market Street Dinner, First Fridays and other business promotions and Old Capitol Holiday Walks that bring thousands to the downtown district every year.

Our generous sponsors of the 25th anniversary Annual Dinner are pulling out all of the stops to celebrate the quarter-century mark in style and set the stage for the coming days of vision, vitality, volume and decreasing vacancies.

Read who this year’s nominees are>

Add the date to your calendar>

Trust us when we say, people will be talking about this event in the weeks following — and you won’t want to miss it!

Premier Sponsor
President Abraham Lincoln Springfield, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
Hanson Professional Services

VIP Pre-Party Sponsor
AT&T

Co-Host
Watts Copy Systems

Anniversary Video Sponsor
Illinois Realtors

Supporters
Alaina Beaird Graphic Design
Anvil & Forge Brewing and Distilling
Buzz Bomb Brewing Co.
DaveHeinzel.com
Frye Williamson Press
Network Knowledge
Spinner Plastics
131 Photography
Wm Van’s Coffee House

 

Help Save the Historic Tax Credit

The federal historic tax credit to revitalize historic buildings was eliminated in the House Tax Reform bill released yesterday by the House Ways and Means Committee.

We know that the Historic Tax Credit has a proven track record of creating jobs, spurring private investment, and generating fiscal revenue. While the Tax Reform bill is intended to stimulate economic growth, elimination of the federal historic tax credits undermines the revitalization of older and historic town centers like Springfield’s.

Congress will begin debate on this bill next week with a vote expected by mid-November.

Join us as a citizen who supports downtown revitalization by ACTING NOW to communicate the value of the Historic Tax Credit to your Representatives and Senators in Congress:

Find out who represents you in Congress>
Call during office hours. Ask to speak to tax staff or ask for a tax staffers’ email address.

A suggested outline of your email message or phone call:

Introduce yourself as a constituent.

Say “I heard the historic tax credit is eliminated in the House version of the tax reform bill. I am extremely concerned that this important community redevelopment incentive will no longer be available to revitalize Springfield’s central historic district. Our National Register District in downtown Springfield was just expanded a few years ago specifically so that additional buildings could use the federal credit and be rehabilitated.”

You can add how the federal historic tax credit has been influential in revitalizing downtown Springfield:

  • The St. George Building Apartments, which were filled in a few months, at the corner of 3rd and Monroe, used federal historic tax credits to finance it.
  • Neither the Booth Building or the Ferguson Building would be moving forward as projects without the historic tax credit. (Vele Restaurant is opening next week in the Ferguson.)
  • The Chamber’s project to rehabilitate the former First United Methodist Church at Capitol and 5th wouldn’t be moving toward construction without the historic tax credit.

There have been multiple rehab projects in the downtown that have utilized the credit in the last 10 years:

  • the KingTech headquarters in the Buck Building on the north side of the square;
  • the Fisher Latham Block across from the Presidential Library on 6th housing Abe’s Old Hat and Wild Rose on the first floors (done by Carolyn Oxtoby and Dick Morse);
  • the Jennings Ford Dealership rehabbed by INB at 4th and Jackson, and
  • the Windsor Hotel rehabbed by Development Services Corporation into beautiful office space at 4th and Adams (with a portion opening as Itty Bitty Fashion Trunk in late November).

These are just a few examples of the power of the federal historic tax credit. Thanks for your advocacy!

What the Comp Plan Says About Downtown

Rather than attempting to stamp suburbia on our historic downtown as previous comprehensive plans did, “Forging a New Legacy,” Springfield’s new comprehensive plan, allows the community to recognize the uniqueness of each area and the opportunities (and challenges) that go with that uniqueness.

Can Springfield forge ahead with vision as the title of the newest comprehensive plan supposes? Only time will tell.

The plan, now available for public review, makes long-overdue and much-needed updates to the most recent version from 2000.

Although this new plan includes major transportation arterials that were described in previous versions (a strong nod toward outward growth), it does attempt to help steer our focus and attention back toward the center.

“Forging a New Legacy” highlights an increasingly relevant issue: rate of growth. The plan projects that Springfield will grow at around 10 percent over 20 years, or one-half of one percent per year. This conservative (and likely realistic) view on the rate of growth is important because it draws our attention back to preserving what the plan refers to as “legacy neighborhoods.”

By preserving legacy neighborhoods, the costs to city government do not rise as sharply over time (increased roadway maintenance, fire protection coverage, sewerage, etc.). The call for neighborhood master plans, including (and especially) in the central business district, is an opportunity for Springfield to address smaller details that are not necessarily at issue in other parts of the city.

In a similar vein, the comprehensive plan also includes direction for what it calls “special areas,” as well as proposed “opportunities.” These special areas should demand a greater focus, and the authors recognize that additional details must be worked out in accordance with some general principles set forth in the overall plan.

Also of interest to fans of downtown — the plan makes the assumption that railroad relocation will occur and that Third Street will ultimately be transformed into a greenway.

The public is welcome to comment on the plan until Thursday, November 16. Then it goes to the city council for formal adoption. You can access the plan (and other relevant documents) at www.springfield.il.us/Businesses/2037CompPlan.aspx.

This post was written by Steven Simpson Black, who runs his own small business while earning a planning degree from UIS.

Tell Us Who Should Receive This Year’s DSI Awards

Every year, Downtown Springfield Inc. recognizes the business owners in the downtown area who are leading the way to a busy, friendly, bold, entertaining and coveted neighborhood.

This year’s Annual Dinner is actually the 25th celebration of the creation of DSI, the downtown business association that also is a nationally-accredited Main Street organization. Fittingly enough, we’re hosting it at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel a Doubletree by Hilton and the BOS Center on January 25, 2018. (25=25)

The first step in the nomination process comes from you. Log your suggestions using our online survey tool>

We’ll announce the winners at the Annual Dinner. Tickets will be available soon. This is one celebration you won’t want to miss! And it supports DSI’s work, so that’s a two-fer.

Third Street Rail Closures Start Oct. 25

Starting Wednesday, five downtown Union Pacific Railroad crossings will be closed permanently: Union Street, Jackson Street, Canedy Street, Allen Street, and Cedar Street. These closures are the next step to acquire a “Quiet Zone” designation along the 3rd Street Corridor.

The five locations will have temporary barricades while Union Pacific completes work associated with the crossing closures and then the City of Springfield will have 60 days to install the permanent barricades.

Detours are marked to avoid the closed crossings. Alternative routes include the underpasses at Dodge Street and at Capitol Avenue along with the Stanford Avenue overpass.

Motorists who disregard the “Road Closed” and “Do Not Enter” signs are subject to a $250 fine.

What is a Quiet Zone?

County Report Gives Thumbs Up to DSI Work

Sangamon County hired The Development Consortium to analyze our area’s regional economic development efforts and the report was released last night. The consultants give DSI’s new direction a big thumbs up on Page 13.

Some downtown-centric highlights:

  • DSI has been primarily operating in a vacuum, mostly not of its own creation. As a needed placemaking organization, it needs to be part of the overall regional economic development strategy and included as a partner.
  • More than 300 current State of Illinois employees are enrolled in UIS programs, and other plans are under consideration of development in order to more fully integrate the campus into the fabric of the community. To the extent that UIS can expand its presence into the downtown areas of Springfield, prime opportunities for dynamic partnerships with business and government can more easily happen, with the additional economic impacts of having students learning, working and living in the City’s core. It would be a real game changer for the landscape and vitality of downtown Springfield.
  • Placemaking and quality of life improvements needed to attract and retain younger workers and recent graduates, and, really, people in all stages of life, need to be planned for, funded and executed, especially in the downtown, as a long-term strategy with representatives from all facets of life represented in the discussion along the way. Support organizations such as Downtown Springfield, Inc. that are working on this. Quality of place is important to new and long-term residents and visitors alike.

Read the whole report on the SJ-R website>

No Such Template. Please Select Valid Template and Try Again.