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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Springfield City Council greenlit Frisco Lane at its Aug. 7 meeting with the passage of Council Bill 2017-196.
The ordinance approves the acquisition of about 67,000 square feet of open space and alleyway north of the buildings on the north side of Commercial Street between Campbell and Benton Avenues to be used for access and parking by C-Street merchants.
The purchase will be financed with about $708,000 in BNSF credits; $267,508 from Commercial Street Tax Increment Financing District funds; and $25,747 from the 1/8-cent Transportation Sales Tax. BNSF owed the City the $708,000 in exchange for 2.6 acres in southwest Springfield for the West Wye project, a turnaround track for coal trains coming from the west to City Utilities’ Southwest Power Station.
Development of Frisco Lane for parking spaces and access to the buildings has been a long-held wish of C-Street business owners.
The passage “represents the culmination of decades of efforts by merchants on Commercial Street and others,” said Deputy City Manager Tim Smith, during the first reading of the bill at the council’s July 31 meeting.
BNSF has owned the property for more than 100 years. A significant portion of the purchase price of the property includes the railroad’s loss of capacity.
“BNSF has active tracks on this property that it will no longer be able to use,” said Economic Development Director Sarah Kerner. Kerner compared the purchase to the acquisition of a business property to build a new highway. “The business owner is paid for more than just the land – they are also paid the value of the loss in business because they no longer have that property.”
While all of the desired improvements to Frisco Lane will take both time and money, in the near future, Kerner says the City plans to grade the gravel and fence the area, at the request of the railroad.
For more information, contact Director of Public Information and Civic Engagement Cora Scott at 417-864-1009 or 417-380-3352 or [email protected] or Economic Development Director Sarah Kerner at 417-864-1035 or [email protected]