Jim Madigan, host of WGBY‘s "The State We’re In," interviewed Chambers of Commerce President Russell Denver and Springfield’s Chief Development Officer David Panagore for a 30-minute show that aired October 13, "Urban Land Study: Springfield’s Future." During the interview, Panagore said he thinks that the plans for market-rate housing and retail in the South End are going to get everything downtown moving.
"That’s the first moving piece," he said. "That’s going to have the greatest impact on all the other land values, and on all the other potential in the downtown area. In terms of getting there, we need to be working with the existing land owners down there. The city is one of them. We own 30 percent of the land, either through the Redevelopment Authority or the city. It’s one of the reasons why the ULI suggested itthey said the city can move quickly on housing."
"So we need to work with the neighborhood," Panagore continued, "we need to work with the businesses in the area, and we need to come up with a viable plan, which also means that we need to work together to secure funding. The ULI indicated that the ratio should be about one dollar of public money to about three dollars of private-side money. That’s what makes it work in terms of leveraging the private sector. I would expect it’s at least a two-to-three-year program, overall, for the South End. But we need to start focusing on it now. I would say we should have a plan together within six months."
Panagore also wrote an op-ed piece for the September 24 Springfield Republican, "City study is a step toward great things," which I hadn’t discovered until I went digging for it after I heard Madigan reference it during the TV interview.