7/01/2010 By Rachel Wells, Illinois Times
At the very least, businesses on MacArthur Boulevard should and could start adding grass, trees and shrubs to their properties as a way to make the thoroughfare more welcoming to Springfield visitors, says John LaMotte with The Lakota Group.
One of the city planners hired with grant funding to help create a redevelopment plan for the MacArthur corridor, LaMotte is working on a revitalization proposal for what he calls a “tired” street.
“The physical conditions [of MacArthur Boulevard] are so in your face … that the street has been losing customers for years, not just because there’s been so much growth to the west but because it’s just not an attractive place to go,” LaMotte says. “You’ve got to get in and get out.”
With only short pieces of curb separating driveway after wide driveway, the asphalt road blends into the cement that makes up front yards of a number of businesses. But the street could become safer and businesses could look more inviting if owners switched to shared parking lots behind buildings, allowing for wider easements in the front where grass and trees could grow, LaMotte says.
He presented to a workshop of business owners and community members last week draft plans that also call for façade improvements, completing the sidewalk network and reducing the number of curb cuts.