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News Stories

$21 million dollar BUILD grant will help connect Downtown to Wonders of Wildlife

November 06, 2019

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s office announced today that the City of Springfield will receive $20,960,822 to create the Grant Avenue Parkway. The major multi-modal transportation improvements will run along Grant Avenue in the heart of Springfield.

Funding is from a BUILD Transportation Grant. BUILD stands for “Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development.” These are Transportation Discretionary Grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation. This 3.3-mile stretch of “parkway” would create an attractive corridor connecting vibrant Downtown Springfield to the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium.

Exciting and transformational news

“The investments we make in our infrastructure directly benefit jobs and the local economy,” Blunt said. “By connecting Springfield’s parks, museums, and other cultural destinations to the city’s growing downtown district, this project will spur economic development and boost the tourism industry. I was glad to work with the Department of Transportation on this project, and I’m pleased this grant gets it one step closer to being completed.”

Springfield Mayor Ken Mclure called the news exciting and transformational.

“This grant will help the City take a giant step forward in carrying out the City Council priorities of Economic Vitality and Quality of Place. We are extremely grateful for the superb congressional support, which has made this grant a reality,” McClure said.

Grant Avenue Parkway

The Grant Avenue Parkway is a proposed project to create an off-street pedestrian and bicycle pathway along Grant Avenue. It will run between Sunshine Street and Walnut Street. The 3.3-mile stretch will link authentic Springfield experiences. The Parkway route would further connect parks and recreation amenities, neighborhoods, schools, and fill a gap in the Ozark Greenways rural trail network. 

The Parkway will start Downtown and end at Sunshine. It will include:

  • bike lanes
  • a roundabout
  • various traffic-calming improvements
  • a grade-separated crossing at Fassnight Creek
  • bridge enhancement
  • utility upgrades
  • fiber connectivity
  • crossing and signal timing improvements

Downtown Springfield’s renaissance has been steady over the past 20 years. Over one-half billion dollars of public and private investment has been made downtown since 1996.

USA Today readers voted WOW America’s Best Aquarium and Best New Attraction. Since opening in September 2017, the estimated $300 million private investment has resulted in significantly increased hotel nights and generated hundreds of thousands of visitors.   These two destinations generate a tremendous amount of economic activity. They are also authentic Springfield experiences for both residents and visitors.

Springfield’s contribution

The Parkway project will ease traffic congestion, improve safety and accessibility, and reduce environmental concerns.

The City’s Public Works and Planning Departments convened a multi-departmental, multi-agency team to prepare the grant proposal. The City is required to provide a 20% match, roughly $5 million.