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A rendering of what the park proposed by the North Mansion group could look like. Credit Courtesy of the City of Springfield But many downtown business owners aren’t sure this idea is best for ongoing revitalization efforts. “We're not against the park,” said Kevin Kuhn, the president of the city’s association of business owners and supporters, Downtown Springfield Inc., and co-owner of Kuhn and Trello Consulting Engineers. “But I think there also needs to be something else in there. It's a big block.” Kuhn and DSI executive director Lisa Clemmons Stott say the two lots present a unique opportunity to develop a whole city block, which could have open space and apartments, a movie theater, restaurants or offices. “It’s a tax-generating opportunity, and our goal to keep the city strong is to have that good strong tax base in downtown with sales tax and property tax,” Stott said. Ward 1 Ald. Chuck Redpath shared the concern that the park plan does not generate revenue. Plus, he points out the city of Springfield would be on the hook for paying utilities and having police patrol the park at a time when finances are already stretched. “Adding more debt with utilities and not generating any tax money is going to be burdensome for us,” Redpath said.
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