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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The City of Springfield has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) through 5 p.m. July 15 for engineering and architecture services for the design of the Renew Jordan Creek project from Main Avenue to Boonville Avenue.
Renew Jordan Creek is a multi-phase project that will “daylight” Jordan Creek by significantly modifying the existing Jordan Creek floodplain and floodway areas that are currently confined in concrete box culverts that run east to west through downtown Springfield.
This phase of the project comprises two large blocks in the urbanized center of Jordan Valley Park, bordered on the east by Boonville Avenue, Water Street on the south, Main Avenue on the west, and Mill Street on the north. Much of the project area is within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain within downtown Springfield.
According to the RFQ, although the project is intended to contribute significantly to reductions in flooding, it should also perform as an urban amenity and catalyst for further private redevelopment of this area of downtown. The City desires to highlight this potential for local economic activity through engagement and visioning with key stakeholders that results in thoughtful urban design.
Project components include pedestrian access and greenway connectivity through downtown, and hardscape elements for pedestrian gathering, walking, and viewing. A 19th-century stone arch bridge that is currently encapsulated by the box culvert at Campbell Avenue may be uncovered and restored. The project design will create a strong sense of place, grounded in the specific characteristics of its site, and will celebrate nature and urban life.
City Council has identified Quality of Place as a priority, and defines it as, “Those features of physical environment and qualities of life that make a location a desirable, competitive, and economically vibrant place to live.” The Renew Jordan Creek project is expected to be a demonstration of that priority.
“As a downtown Springfield amenity, there has been a good deal of community interest in daylighting Jordan Creek with the expectation that this could be something terrific and along the lines of what we’ve seen larger cities do with their urban waterways,” said Tim Rosenbury, director of Quality of Place Initiatives for the City of Springfield. “I agree, but this project is also an integral piece of two very exciting placemaking initiatives for Springfield – the Grant Avenue Parkway (GAP) and the next phase of Missouri State University’s IDEA Commons.”
The GAP, funded by a federal $21 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant, is a proposed project to create an off-street pedestrian and bicycle pathway along the 3.3-mile stretch of Grant Avenue between Sunshine Street and Walnut Street. The parkway would connect the Wonders of Wildlife Museum & Aquarium to downtown and connect parks and recreation amenities, neighborhoods and schools and would fill a gap in the Ozark Greenways network. The City will begin collecting public input on the vision for the GAP in a series of public engagement sessions in July and August.
Jordan Creek runs through the heart of downtown Springfield, two blocks north of the
square. The stream was once pristine and unspoiled, sustained by natural springs. In 1830, Springfield’s founder John Polk Campbell and his family were the first to settle along its banks.
Over the years settlers began complaining about the flooding of the stream, and they used it as a garbage dump. As more settlers moved to the area, the stream became polluted and stagnant. As Springfield prospered, additional development occurred along the creek, concentrating rainfall to flood the Jordan Valley. In response, in the early 1930s, the creek was enclosed with massive twin box culverts, two-thirds of a mile long, to help contain flooding.
The combination of industrial users vacating Jordan Valley, postwar efforts to improve health and address pollution, and recent efforts at controlling flooding upstream have created new opportunities for Jordan Creek. In the late 1990s the community cast a vision for Jordan Valley Park, an almost two-mile long, 150-acre linear park with the creek running through most of it. The east and west ends of the park will consist of large passive open spaces, and the center is compressed into an urbanized area one block wide and several blocks in length.
Since 2014, Jordan Creek has been listed on the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ 303(d) List of Impaired Waters due to impairment by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in stream sediment. Partial funding for the Renew Jordan Creek project is provided by a Section 319 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for stream bank and soil restoration, tree plantings, and disconnection of impervious surfaces to provide a buffer from loading of PAHs.
For questions regarding the RFQ, please contact Kirkland Preston, Department of Public Works – Stormwater at 417-864-1990 or [email protected]. Media are asked to contact Cora Scott, director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, at 417-380-3352 or [email protected]