Author Topic: Springfield Development Assessment  (Read 5525 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Springfield Development Assessment
« on: November 19, 2008, 05:00:00 AM »
Springfield Development Assessment



A look into Springfield's Development history, opportunities, walkability and a recommended action plan by Alfred Gobar Associates.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/943

Johnny

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2008, 10:46:22 AM »
Seems an odd picture for the thread, but a nice read anyway. Thanks

thelakelander

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2008, 11:39:21 AM »

Interesting report, there are some things they are dead on about and others that have been overlooked. 

In the Recommended Action Plan, its mentioned that Springfield will have unlikely access to light or commuter rail service.  This is absolutely wrong.  Springfield residents should get involved with JTA's plans for commuter rail down the S-Line and BRT down Boulevard Street.  Commuter rail down the S-Line alone is something that will bring more growth to the community than every other idea currently on the table.

There's also a complete lack of focus on the importance of small business ownership.  Take a look at Downtown's bustling retail scene and active street life.  We should know by now that urban revitalization is hard to pull off by only paying attention to one trick ponies (big money, large scale developers).  The longer we refuse to make small business development a top priority, the longer Springfield's commercial streets will remain dark at night.

The zoning overlays also need to become more flexible.  Springfield became an attractive place because it embraced architectural diversity and a mix of urban uses.  While the zoning overlay encourages urban principles from a commercial standpoint, the idea of the residential streets becoming strictly single family goes against the historic development pattern of an urban district.  Furthermore, it embraces lower densities.  If Springfield is to bloom along its commercial corridors, the community needs to densify to support it.  This means there needs to be a mix of infill mulitfamily opportunities on the side streets as well.

Another missed opportunity is the lack of discussion between neighborhood groups and major anchors in the area like Swisher, Shands, FCCJ and Bethel.  All of these places continue to expand or have plans in place to expand.  All parties should be involved together in their site planning efforts to make sure they all fit into a long term vision of the entire community becoming walkable.  If this does not happen, the major anchors will continue to development in a fashion that turns their back to the neighborhood and their immediate surroundings.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

downtownparks

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2008, 11:50:49 AM »
Shands has a pretty good relationship with several neighborhood groups now. I know SPAR has reached out to FCCJ. I also know Doug and I tried to get Bethel and FCCJ to the table in regards to the Parks. Bethel makes very good use of Klutho Park facilities, and it was our hope that a united front would get the parks dept to act a little faster. Doug and I were unsuccessful in establishing a strong tie. I agree, it would be great to work with them on that, and other issues.

FCCJ was interested in working with us. Dr Abdullah seems to be very willing to work with the community in general.

Not sure about Swisher.

thelakelander

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2008, 12:22:10 PM »
I bring up the relationships because two things came up in yesterday's meeting that suprised me.

1. The new VA clinic plans

We spent a good while taking about the need for new eateries along and near West 8th Street to cater to the high daytime population in the area.  Knowing that there were plans for a new VA clinic and that clinics normally come with cafeterias, I asked if the community had been working with the VA clinic to make sure that dining establishment would face the street.  With a new clinic on the way we have an opportunity to kill a few birds with one stone, so I was disappointed to find out that there was no discussion between the various parties about this type of community planning.

2. FCCJ

At the meeting the FCCJ representative mentioned their on campus eatery and bookstore were too small.  Some at the meeting suggested there could be a bookstore on Main Street that could cater to the college.  At the same time, we all know that campus completely turns its back to its surroundings.  We also know they plan to become a state college next year, have a master plan to expand and that their campus is the major obstacle disconnecting Springfield from Downtown.  There should be discussion to make sure that their master plan is something that embraces its surroundings, which would be a positive impact on Springfield and Downtown.  Instead of dreaming about a campus bookstore on Main, they should be looking at moving things like their library, restaurants (I had no idea they had a Quinzo's in there) and bookstore into the street level space of the planned parking garage facing Laura or State and convert the old space into classrooms.  A move like this bridges the gap between Springfield and Downtown and puts positive activity on currently dead streets.

While neither of these things directly front Main, they create pedestrian foot traffic which is also important for improving the community and its businesses.  We should take every opportunity to enhance the community at street level, especially when another party is paying for improvements they have to make anyway.

"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

sheclown

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 06:47:25 PM »
 Ten years ago, there were small businesses on Main Street.  I remember getting my nails done on Main Street, buying shoes at Pic N Pay.  Stopping in for a soda at the convenience store on 10th and Main.  (Was it 10th and Main?) 

And there was night life...Boomtown and Epicurean, and people hanging out on the sidewalk after dark.

It wasn't great.  It was a moon pie, rose-in-a-tube kinda place. 

Very "uncool" places...beats what is there now.

Main Street revitalization?

If someone walked into a small Springfield business, and said "I'm from SPAR", the owner would hit the deck, duck his head, turn out the lights, and crawl out the back door. 

A lot of work has to be done first. 

zoo

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2008, 06:52:47 PM »
That's funny, sheclown. I've more or less done what you suggested on several occasions (excepting saying I'm "from the neighborhood, volunteering for SPAR"), and have never gotten that reaction.

sheclown

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2008, 08:15:05 PM »
from another thread...

Quote from: jtwestside on Today at 04:14:01 PM
I'm not trying to jump in the middle of this frey (especially as an outsider) but I did notice this from the "Development Assessment".

*Ongoing elimination of commercial businesses providing substantial (substandard?) services to local area residents -Quality food store ... etc.
*Ongoing development of new higher quality commercial services Three Layers coffee house, Premier Pharmacy ...

I really don't know what SPAR's approach is or has been but is this assessment just a purchased endorsement of that approach or is it seen by some here as a truly outside viewpoint?
[/quote]


Perhaps it is the "ongoing elimination..." comment that makes existing businesses nervous.  It begs the question of who decides.  It makes it appear that there are two opposing forces, the substandard and the rest. 

uptowngirl

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2008, 09:06:26 PM »
There is a brand spanking new (renovated) BP gas station on 8th. It is clean, bright, and the owner is a gem...let's see how much business happens there. These businesses will cater to who is buying, if not the people begging for new businesses that do not cater to the "rose in a tube" crowd, then they will sell to the "rose in the tube crowd", after all they are always buying that tube and 40oz and don't care what the building looks like or what the service is like either.

downtownparks

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2008, 09:30:54 PM »
Sheclown, that answer is easy. The consumer has far more say than SPAR could ever hope to have. Even if SPAR, or some other organization came out and said business X is the worst business ever, the consumer has the ability to trump that by spending its money there anyway.

sheclown

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2008, 08:18:06 AM »
Sheclown, that answer is easy. The consumer has far more say than SPAR could ever hope to have. Even if SPAR, or some other organization came out and said business X is the worst business ever, the consumer has the ability to trump that by spending its money there anyway.

And I don't disagree...

however, it works at cross purposes and wastes energy if part of the commercial plan is to get rid of "substandard businesses."   It is by far better, as Lake and Stephendare suggest, to help business X clean up its act either by keeping the outside nice, enforcing no loitering and panhandling, encouraging this business to get out the mops, or doing something more substantial, help with marketing, grants, etc.

And our dollars.  Even if you pay a bit extra, if the money stays in the neighborhood, we all benefit, financially.

thelakelander

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2008, 09:41:36 AM »
Good point.  The consumer, market and actual neighborhood demographics will ultimately have more say than neighborhood groups if business "X" expects to keep their doors open.  The role our neighborhood groups should play is to help facilitate our businesses to be as successful as they can.

So if a business has a decent product but people are scared to go in the front door, we should be working to alleviate that problem, not eliminating the business as the development assessment suggests.  As mentioned in one of these threads many saw Quality Foods and the pharmacy inside of it as substandard.  Now the pharmacy, which sells the same goods, moves into a more appealing facility and it becomes the hottest place on 8th Street.  SPAR and SAMBA should take a more agressive role in helping things like this happen with the rest of our existing businesses as opposed to focusing more on new development.  This is a surefire way to improve the community by taking advantage of what we already have.  This is also something that will attract additional businesses to the community, which is something everyone in Springfield would like to see.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

zoo

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2008, 10:09:07 AM »
Quote
Good point.  The consumer, market and actual neighborhood demographics will ultimately have more say than neighborhood groups if business "X" expects to keep their doors open.  The role our neighborhood groups should play is to help facilitate our businesses to be as successful as they can.

This is why some businesses are closing/dying - Gold Coin on Main, Carribean Stone, Springfield Station - the consumer is speaking already. The businesses that are closing are doing so because they aren't adapting to the changing marketplace. SPAR and residents have made efforts to reach out, support, and give meaningful feedback to businesses, but many just haven't been open to change (I'm hopeful this will end!)

Here's an example: the store on 3rd & Market. They have made some attempts to improve the store through carrying wine, getting some products customers have requested, and keeping parking area cleaner. It is an improvement, and I shop there for certain items to show I appreciate the changes they have made. However, they also continue to carry some products that are out of date, won't remove the bars from the windows or improve exterior with a paint job and an awning or two, and improve some of their product lines/offerings. Will they be able to compete with the Uptown Market that opens 2 blocks away at 3rd & Main? Time will tell.

Quote
SAMBA should take a more agressive role in helping things like this happen with the rest of our existing businesses as opposed to focusing more on new development.

Lake, I am disappointed to hear you say SPAR and SAMBA should do more, as you have been aware of research undertaken by SPAR, and are on the board of SAMBA. Imho, SAMBA should have used funds in its budget, or relationships with members (printers esp), to photocopy all of the collected commercial/resident data, and info on community groups and incentives, and distribute it to business owners on the corridor (a gift from SPAR/SAMBA that may have helped some see value in membership). This was suggested and denied in favor of an "appreciation party."

SAMBA has also had the UNF Small Business Development Council, come and speak AND offer its services FREE to small businesses in the area (SPAR/SAMBA members or not). Many of the small business owners who were not  at that particular meeting have been informed of this resource, along with contact info. If I were guessing how many actually picked up the phone to meet and begin the process of "real" business operations, I'd only have to use one hand (or maybe none at all).

Resident consumers and community support organizations do not bear the responsibility for small businesses succeeding. They can help, and have to the extent financially feasible. But in the end the business owner has to decide to legitimize operations, adapt to changing market conditions, and keep up their business environment/appearance to the level desired by their customers. And when it comes to who to target, this is also up to the business owner -- but these days, that is a critical business decision that will affect not only whether they succeed, but whether they survive.

I hope in the coming year, SPAR's representative, Don Downing, and SAMBA will figure out how to work more effectively together, so the whole operation is a smooth-running machine of assistance/engagement with existing businesses, attraction of new businesses, and positive influence on existing property-owners.


« Last Edit: November 20, 2008, 10:11:17 AM by zoo »

nvrenuf

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2008, 10:16:44 AM »
If I have to buy gas in the hood I go to that BP on 8th Street. They are clean and don't tolerate a bunch of drunkards and drug dealers in front of their store. I will not use the Shell at Boulevard even when the gas is cheaper than BP due to the clientele they allow to loiter there.

3rd & Market is a good example of a business owner who listened. Many people would not use the store because of the loiterers outside. A few people told him so and suggested expanding his wine selection to improve his business with newer residents. He did and now everyone knows that is the place to go to get a quick, inexpensive bottle for a party or for dinner.

downtownparks

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Re: Springfield Development Assessment
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2008, 10:19:26 AM »
I also have been using the BP (As I stated) I just wish that they all were so reliant on the single beer sales... (really, its just more a wish, than a demand)