Old Capitol Farmers Market

Springfield’s longest-running and most popular Farmers Market in beautiful #downtown Springfield. Open between May-October 8 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

Old Capitol Farmers Market

Springfield’s longest-running and most popular Farmers Market in beautiful #downtown Springfield. Open between May-October 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The 9th Floor Sale (inspired by the Twilight Zone Episode 34)

Follow Miss Marsha White as she looks for a gold thimble. The odds are that she’ll find it—but there are even better odds that she’ll find some modern spring fashions, because these aren’t just any old stores –they’re Downtown Springfield Shops.

Participating businesses with modern spring fashions for women include The Roost, Itty Bitty Fashion Trunk, Studio on 6th, Willow & Birch, and Murphy’s Loft.

Watch a clip from the original 1960’s episode of the Twilight Zone in which this fun & freaky shopping event was inspired by here.

 

Lincoln Half Marathon

Join us on the first Saturday of April as more than 10k runners from many states and countries take in Abraham Lincoln sites during this scenic half marathon. This USATF certified course will immerse you in Lincoln history unlike any other race! This is an official Illinois Bicentennial Event.

Part I of III: Sustainability in Downtown Springfield

Ice caps are melting, our population is growing, and our winters are getting longer. So, what does that mean for our farm-dependent state?  In Illinois, our farmers depend on the land and climate to work together so that they, as growers, can yield bountiful crops.

Often, we are left overwhelmed as to what we can do to help the earth. From recycling, eating and shopping local, to turning the lights off when you leave a room, sustainability starts small and at the heart. Downtown Springfield, Inc. interviewed three of our business owners regarding their efforts to make Springfield sustainable, delving deep to showcase what makes them unique.

Michael Higgins, owner and chef of Maldaner’s Restaurant, says that buying from small farmers and eating organic is the way to go. Coming from California, one thing Higgins wanted to do when he arrived in Central Illinois was to bring more variety to Springfield. He noticed that the Midwest grew really great tomatoes, but unfortunately only one species seemed to exist. By working with local farmers and by providing them with seed, Higgins was able to add to the Midwest variety. Then in the late ’80’s, Higgins began offering organic chicken to his customers by working with farmers he met at the Illinois Product Show. One can see the pride in Higgins’ eyes as he speaks of the bond between the consumer and farmer. “It’s 100% trust,” he states. Small Farmers, away from agri-business, “ARE small businesses and we need to remember that,” Higgins says.

We are trusting these farmers to feed us with incredible food that provide us with the nutrients we need and at the same time, they are trusting us to understand that where we buy from is important.  Buying from farmers markets and your local or small farm not only helps them but helps our community, and helps our planet. We asked Higgins what he thought was the best solution to feeding our growing population while sustaining our planet and he had the best answer: “Do the best you can.”

How does buying organic help the planet? 

Organic farming is less intensive on our landscapes causing less erosion to our soil compositions. While it does often require more land in general, the amount of pesticides and herbicides are far less than conventional commodity farming — meaning less chemical run-off to our water systems and airways. While too much demand on small farms can do harm by exploiting them, the good news it that more and more “big business” farmers are transitioning to organic due to the consumer demand!

Like Chef Higgins says, all we can do is try our best. Try our best to educate ourselves as to what is harmful to ourselves, others, and the planet. While remembering that even the smallest act is helping and that if we all did one small act, like buying local, those many small acts add up to a pretty big one!

Stay tuned for next weeks’ sustainable highlight when we meet with new Director Leah Wilson and founding Board President Rachael Thomson of the Kidzeum Health and Science Children’s Museum.

*This sustainability blog post is the first of a three part series about how Downtown Springfield organizations contribute to sustainability initiatives.*

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Organizers say Springfield’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the biggest downstate parade to celebrate the “luck o’ the Irish.” The 34th Annual Parade with the theme “ShamRock ‘n Roll” kicks off at the “craic o’ noon” on Saturday, March 17 and thousands of viewers are expected along the parade route.

The parade starts on Jefferson & 6th heading west to 5th; Heading south on 5th to Capitol; Heading North on 6th to the Reviewing Stand, (this is our Family Friendly Area) then to Washington heading east, back to the beginning; the Horace Mann parking lot. Review the parade route>

For Families:

  • Streets will close at 9 am on Saturday morning and reopen at 6 am on Sunday
  • For the first time, there is a St. Patrick’s Day Parade Race from 9-10 am; Race starts and finishes on Washington between 5th and 6th.
  • 6th Street is considered Family Viewing area and 5th Street is considered more of the party street
  • The Hy-Vee Family Fun Fair will be 1-4 pm and is located at the Old State Capitol
  • Several parking lots in the area will charge one $5 fee for the day, including lots at 2nd and Washington, south of Obed’s on 6th Street behind the AT&T building, and the county lot on Adams across from the convention center. Free parking is available at the lots on 4th St. behind Augie’s and The Alamo.

For Revelers:

  • If you plan to consume alcohol outdoors, you must purchase a $1 wristband from retail establishments. Patrons who purchase will be allowed to have open containers on 5th Street between Monroe and Jefferson after the parade is over and while bars are open. No glass or coolers are allowed in the Parade area.
  • “I need a ride.” If you overindulge from 4 pm to 5 am, ask a bar manager for a cab voucher, courtesy of the SPD and Fire Department. Take your numbered voucher to pick up points at 4th and Adams or 6th and Adams. Lincoln Cab Co. will be there to take you home anywhere in Springfield. This safety program is paid for by the department’s DUI budget funded by previous offenders’ fees.

Talking history at Lincoln Presidential Library

The Illinois History Forum returns to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in 2018 with sessions on Lincoln, Lewis and Clark, Ronald Reagan and Ulysses S. Grant. Topics during the state’s bicentennial year will also include former capital city Vandalia during Lincoln’s time, the history of Springfield’s many colorful signs, and Chicago during the Great Migration.

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.

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