The entire city council voted unanimously to transfer $400,000 to the fund balance of the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, acting on an order in effect since mid-September.
In the FY23 budget that passed last week, $725,000 was allocated to the SCVB from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
Approximately $1.4 million has been identified as lost revenue due to hotel/motel taxes due to a lack of visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re $400,000 behind,” SCVB Director Scott Dahl told council members ahead of the vote. “From my perspective, if we could get to that pre-pandemic fund balance, and we could be cured, that would really help us.”
See also: World-class linguist, journalist was a ‘popularizer of the language to the general public
Ward 6 Ald. Kristin DiCenso released the order for debate. It had been filed since September 14.
The fund balance, Mayor Jim Langfelder said, is used for “a variety of items,” including promotion.
“It’s almost kept as a fund for rainy days,” he said.
Langfelder said the rest could be transferred to the fund balance if deficits persist.
Race Riots Memorial
An ordinance that was part of the consent program now requires the city to donate land at 300 N. Ninth St. if a national memorial commemorating the 1908 Springfield race riots is built.
We are located along the 10th Street Rail Corridor.
“It really codifies in stronger terms that it is our desire and we will obligate the property to the National Park Service with the caveat that they would use it for this memorial,” Langfelder said.
In February 2021, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced legislation to designate the sites of the race riots as a national monument.
The riots were a catalyst for the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
The Springfield Race Riot National Monument Act of 1908 would establish the site as a national monument to be managed by the Park Service, part of the US Department of the Interior.
Building work on the rail corridor in recent years has unearthed the remains of seven homes, five of which were burned down during the race riots.
The law was championed in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville.
“The strong story here in Springfield goes from President Abraham Lincoln to President Barack Obama, but the arc in the middle is the race riots,” Langfelder said.
moment of silence
Before taking a moment of silence for the Ukrainian people, Langfelder read an excerpt from a book written by his father, former mayor Ossie Langfelder.
“My Incredible Journey” is the story of his escape from Vienna when the German army invaded in March 1938.
Earlier: Ukrainian in Springfield says his friends back home are ‘ready to fight’ the Russians
“He always said, ‘Remember your story because it may repeat itself,'” Langfelder said. Fast forward to the tragic and horrific events unfolding before our eyes in Kyiv (84 years later). The warning signs should ring like a bell, with democracy and freedom under attack as families are separated.”
After the meeting, Langfelder admitted that watching the situation in Ukraine was “heartbreaking.”
“You see families tearing themselves apart,” he said. “(President Volodymyr Zelensky) has really stepped up. It’s a chapter of courage, in what he has shown for the country.
“It gives me time to take a break from what my dad went through. That’s right where it takes you. It’s just not about Ukraine. It’s about the border countries and all of Europe and where does it end?”
Langfelder said he texted Durbin thanking him for his outspoken support for the Ukrainians.
“It’s important for someone of his stature to speak up and talk about the importance of supporting Ukraine’s efforts as best we can without putting our own soldiers at risk,” Langfelder said. “There are ways to support them and anything we can do to make that happen should be done.”
Langfelder recalled that Springfield hosted a group of Ukrainian journalists in 2015. It was at the same time that a delegation visited Springfield’s sister city, Ashikaga, Japan.
“I hope they are safe wherever they are,” he said.
Free downtown paid parking continues until further notice.
Tickets will still be issued for vehicles not respecting the deadlines displayed on the parking signs.
Parking illegally or in an illegal area, including bus or loading areas, prohibited parking and accessible places is enforceable 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
ECDC meeting canceled
The city’s Economic and Community Development Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled.
The next meeting is scheduled for April 6 at 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the council chambers.
Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, [email protected], twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.