The Springfield Project

Solving Neighborhood Problems
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Solving Neighborhood Problems
Through Collaboration

News

5 homes to be built in 'Neighborhood of Hope'

Posted Dec 19, 2012

Five more single-family homes are being built for low- to moderate-income families as part of the “Neighborhood of Hope” project. Construction is being funded through an additional $900,000 that local agencies, including the Springfield Project, will receive through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization program.

Ron Fafoglia at TSP-Hope said the money will help build a home at 1317 E. Jackson Street and four homes in the 900 block of South 14th Street. The three-bedroom homes will have full basements and two-car garages, he said.  Fafoglia said the homes should be completed and ready to be occupied by the spring.

The Neighborhood of Hope area takes in 49 square blocks — from South Grand Avenue to Cook Street and from 11th Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The project has so far included building 35 new homes and rehabilitating eight others. The agency previously received a $1.2 million federal grant for the work.

Read the full story at SJ-R.com...


NOH, Micro Loan Programs mentioned in Chamber update

By CHRIS DETTRO, The State Journal-Register
Posted Dec 11, 2012

Tom Gihl, the executive council chairman of the Quantum Growth Partnership (Q5), the strategic plan for economic growth and development in Sangamon County, also cited successes as Q5 begins its second five-year cycle.

Those results included:

  • Focusing on community development in an area between 11th Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Cook Street and South Grand Avenue so that The Springfield Project can buy vacant lots or those with boarded-up buildings to build new single-family homes.
  • Expanding the micro-loan program to help more businesses with start-up support.

Read the full story at SJ-R.com...



Local lending program gives small businesses a leg up

By  NATALIE MORRIS, GateHouse News Service
Posted Oct 10, 2012

World Peace Taxi is just the latest small business to open in Springfield with help from the micro loan program, which is operated by The Springfield Project in partnership with the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce.

The program, which started in 2008, has assisted 44 business owners with loans totaling $101,500. The money has fostered new businesses ranging from lawn care to pet grooming, nail salons to used car lots.

“We’re focused on helping diversity in small business,” said Timothy Rowles, executive director of The Springfield Project and president of the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce. “We began with the idea of helping minority business owners get a foothold; tapping minority talent in the east Springfield.”

Rowles said the micro loan program, which will begin looking at new applications in January, will place more emphasis on diversity in the upcoming year.

“The program is open to all small-business owners,” he said. “When ‘diversity’ is in the front, people sometimes think of only one group of people. That’s not diversity.”

Rowles said a revised application form and more resources will be in place to encourage inquiries from business owners throughout Springfield, although there will continue to be an emphasis on minority-owned businesses originating from east Springfield.


Read the story at SJ-R.com...




A new reality for the east side

by Patrick Yeagle, Illinios Times
Posted Jan 27, 2011
Springfield’s east side could see a dramatic revitalization over the next three years, according to representatives of businesses, churches, nonprofits and government bodies who met to discuss redevelopment plans last week.

The East Springfield Summit featured a consortium of familiar names in Springfield – the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, The Springfield Project, Mayor Frank Edwards, the Faith Coalition for the Common Good and more – who gathered Jan. 19 at Union Baptist Church in Springfield.

“I’ve never seen a collected effort or a concerted effort such as this be sustained for so long in terms of minority inclusion and doing development in east Springfield,” said Tim Rowles, director of The Springfield Project. Rowles said TSP’s microloans program has given 30 small loans of between $1,000 and $3,000 to people who want to start businesses on Springfield’s east side, with more loans planned.

Sue Massie, president of Massie, Massie and Associates landscape design firm in Springfield, unveiled plans for a new neighborhood bounded by Cook Street, South Grand Avenue, 11th Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard. This 49-square-block area, named the Hope Neighborhood, currently contains 220 vacant houses, 85 of which are boarded up. Massie’s firm and TSP-Hope, a spinoff of The Springfield Project, are planning a redevelopment of the neighborhood to include new parks and homes on larger property tracts, as well as a slight expansion of businesses in the area and enhancements to Feitshans Academy.

Ron Fafoglia, executive director of TSP-Hope, says the organization is already working with about 40 to 50 families to secure financing for homes in the area, while Rowles says it is important that housing in the area be affordable.

“This is important, because I think we don’t need to price people out of the neighborhood, folks who are already living there,” Rowles says. “For example, you’ve got somebody who’s been living there 40, 50 years on a fixed income. We can’t price them out, but we can come up with funding sources to help them improve their homes at no cost to them.”

Read the full story at IllinoisTimes.com...



East side wins housing grant
$1.2 million will build new houses and demolish others

By Patrick Yeagle
, Illinois Times
Thursday, October 8,2009


The sounds of nail guns and power saws filled the air in a section of the east side of Springfield last week. Men with tool belts worked feverishly to build a new home at the corner of 12th and Edwards streets, raising walls and covering the frame with plywood.

Right next door, a rundown, boarded-up abandoned house awaits demolition, a reminder that there is still much work to be done.

Both properties belong to TSP-Hope, a nonprofit group focused on building affordable housing, and each property’s metamorphosis is another step toward revitalizing Springfield’s east side.

In late September, The Springfield Project, which spawned TSP-Hope, secured a $1.26 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to support TSP-Hope’s overhaul of the neighborhood’s housing.  The money will help pay for 11 new homes and the demolition of 25 abandoned properties within the area bounded by Cook Street and South Grand Avenue between 11th Street and Martin Luther King Drive.

Once TSP receives the funds, they will be disbursed to Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County and TSP-Hope. Habitat will build five new homes in the 49-square-block area. TSP-Hope has already begun building a few of the other six homes to be funded.

“Honestly, this is not a cure-all for what needs to take place over there,” TSP executive director Tim Rowles says. “But hopefully if we can get this project going, people will see what’s taking place, and we’ll be able to attract or generate some new funding.”

Rowles says he expects to have new homes ready by the start of 2010. “We’re being very aggressive with this,” he says. “But we’re also going to take our time and make sure we do it right.”

Ron Fafoglia, executive director of TSP-Hope, says the neighborhood was chosen because his organization already works there.  “That’s where the most need is,” Fafoglia says. “We’ve got several pieces of property already purchased in that area, and we’re pretty much ready to hit the ground running. We want the work to be concentrated in as small an area as possible to make the biggest impact.”

Habitat and Hope are grant partners with TSP on the project, along with the City of Springfield, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce and the Q5 Diversity Development Council.

Mike Farmer, director of the city’s Office of Planning and Economic Development, said the city will be using other federal dollars to update infrastructure in the east side, including almost 9,000 feet of new sidewalks along Capitol Avenue, as well as new sidewalks along Kansas, Stuart, Brown and Cook streets.

Rowles says the groups involved with the housing project have more plans to rejuvenate the east side in the future.  “We’re interested in not just housing, but also in some retail and commercial development,” he says. “We’d love to see some mixed-use development along South Grand.”

Rowles says the east side redevelopment efforts are a community effort.  “We’ve got to make sure that we build partnerships, that we work together and get everybody involved,” he says. I’m really expecting that once we get started on this, people are going to join together and we’re going to make a positive impact in a place that has long been neglected.”