In addition to the Forward SGF Vision, which provides an overarching vision for the community, the vision statements are specific to the core elements of the Comprehensive Plan. They provide an aspirational narrative for each element that outlines what the City should work towards achieving over the next 20 years based on the community’s goals, needs, and desires.
FORWARD SGF’s “NORTH STAR” is Quality of Place
Quality of Place is defined by the built environment and the community’s ability to provide amenity-rich neighborhoods and commercial districts. It is interconnected across all Plan elements and should act as a lens through which future growth, investment, and City initiatives are directed. While the Comprehensive Plan should be used to inform decisions and specific sections should be referenced depending on the topic at hand, Quality of Place should serve as a north star used to guide all future decision making.
In 2040, Springfield will be composed of healthy, thriving, and welcoming residential neighborhoods that contain a wide variety of housing choices. Quality, affordable housing opportunities will be available to people of all backgrounds and stages of life, drawing new families and young professionals, while allowing residents to age in place. Newcomers can choose from attractive suburban living to traditional or historic neighborhoods in an urban setting. Springfield will flourish with “Complete Neighborhoods,” where a variety of day-to-day amenities, like restaurants, shops, schools, and parks will be approximately a 15-minute walk from one’s home.
Neighborhood revitalization will be a top priority for the City, providing critical reinvestment into blighted neighborhoods, improving the quality of the housing stock and sense of place. Beautification efforts will drive private investment, building residents’ sense of ownership, pride, and identity for the long term. Assets that make each neighborhood unique will be celebrated through branding and preservation in close collaboration with neighborhood organizations. Springfield will provide an authentic urban living experience with revitalized neighborhoods, housing, and places of experience and social refuge that neighboring communities cannot offer.
In 2040, the Springfield area economy will thrive due to its diverse mix of businesses, attractions, housing options, and improved quality of place and living experience. Companies locating to the area will provide high quality jobs that draw talent from across the country and encourages local college graduates to stay in Springfield and jumpstart their careers. Young professionals, families, and retirees will be attracted to the City’s assets and livability, including top-rated public and private schools, higher education institutions, natural attractions, and a bustling Downtown. The City’s economic resurgence will be seen in residential areas, with diverse housing options and neighborhood commercial centers that serve as hubs of activity, attracting and retaining a wide range of residents, investors, and visitors. Springfield will become a destination for major events, sports tournaments, and outdoor recreation, drawing thousands of visitors annually.
The City will continue to be proactive in attracting investment, ensuring a development-friendly environment, while requiring a higher standard of development that prioritizes people, place, and prosperity. This includes ensuring the provision of necessary infrastructure, multimodal access, high speed internet, and a skilled, educated, and diverse workforce to support the growing business community. In line with the vision of the City’s economic development plan, new employment areas will be strategically planned, while older business areas will be targeted for reinvestment and redevelopment. The City will drive a strong regional economy and emerge as the recognized leader in forging partnerships and attracting investment that is beneficial, not only to Springfield, but the vitality of the surrounding region.
In 2040, Springfield will be a highly connected community that provides a variety of safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options to residents, workers, and visitors of all ages and abilities. Springfield will lead the region by example as it continues to grow as a transportation hub, supporting transit-oriented land uses. Transportation improvements will be used to enhance the community’s unique identity, beautify the City, and contribute to placemaking. All users of the transportation system will have mobility options that are connected, efficient, and convenient whether they drive, walk, bike, take transit, move freight, or access air travel. The City will embrace innovation and leverage transportation investments to bolster economic growth and tourism.
In 2040, the City of Springfield will continue to equip the community with the necessary utilities, infrastructure, and community facilities needed to foster high quality-of-life and a supportive business environment. Strategic planning for sustainable growth and development of infrastructure and community facilities in close coordination with local stakeholders and regional partners will help meet future needs. Infrastructure and community facilities will be safe, reliable, resilient, and of high quality and design excellence, with the capacity to serve growing demands. Capitalizing on the region’s natural resource appeal and infrastructure development will be sensitive to and enhance the valuable natural environment.
Capital improvement and community facility projects will be funded through innovative, diverse funding avenues, including public-private partnerships, recognizing these assets are essential to the vitality of Springfield’s existing and future population. Such projects will emphasize multi-use functions, provide equitable access, connect public spaces, and support beautification initiatives throughout the City. Additionally, Springfield’s residents and businesses will recognize the value of and develop a sense of community ownership towards these critical public assets to support future growth and economic development.
In 2040, the City of Springfield will be home to a first-class parks and trails system that connects, engages, and inspires residents and visitors across all neighborhoods and throughout the region. This integrated system will provide safe and equitable access from residential areas and businesses to Springfield’s parks, recreation, sport facilities, and other community destinations. The City will support healthy living and regional tourism, while providing for multimodal transportation options. The City’s cutting-edge recreational facilities will be functional, dynamic, attractive, and welcoming to all, while remaining sensitive to surrounding natural environments.
In Springfield, nature will be a part of everyday life and a core component of the community’s identity. Green spaces will be seamlessly interwoven into the urban fabric as a connected and healthy ecosystem that highlights Springfield’s natural assets. Tree preservation, reforestation, and ecosystem restoration will ensure these assets are thriving for future generations. Springfield’s quality amenities will help foster outdoor lifestyles for residents and drive investment as enthusiasm grows. The community at large will be stewards of the environment and leaders for sustainability in southwest Missouri. The City will embrace its role as Basecamp of the Ozarks, linking neighboring communities and natural areas across the region. Innovative partnerships and synergies will be created to further develop Springfield’s system of parks, trails, greenways, and natural resources into an outdoor recreation destination and a jumping off point for regional exploration.
The City of Springfield is committed to the concept of planned, sustainable , responsible growth. Sustainable growth should strive to balance the demand for new development, quality expectations, and environmental, community, and fiscal resources, while supporting a desirable mix of uses. While the Forward SGF Land Use Plan identifies the location of where different types of development should be accommodated within the City’s designated growth area, a more comprehensive strategy will be needed to help guide future expansion of the city limits and Urban Service Area. The strategy will also serve as a guide to maximize short- and long-term public investment related decision making to support planned growth.
It is critical the City works closely with surrounding municipal and county governments, utility providers, the regional planning agencies, business and environmental groups, and other stakeholders. The City should facilitate conversations on topics that promote sustainable growth, a resilient economy, and stewardship of the natural and built environment in the greater Ozarks region.
Forward SGF identifies numerous approaches to guiding growth and the management of infrastructure and service investments to support existing community needs and development in the City of Springfield. Evaluating future decisions should be made with caution not to exchange short-term growth for long-term stability.