Springfield is the “heart” of the vast region of Central Illinois. It is the seat of State government and the center of government for the City of Springfield and Sangamon County. A nationally known medical campus, offering advanced treatments and healthcare is also located in Springfield. These facilities and activity generators are reinforced by one of the most famous historic and culturally significant areas in the world – the Abraham Lincoln Home and Lincoln Law Offices. This massing of cultural, government, recreational, and entertainment attractions is supported by a retail and commercial base that makes the area highly unique and diverse.
For the area to fulfill its promise as a major Midwest center, the City of Springfield retained PGAV to prepare a master plan designed to attract new growth and private investment. This resulted in the preparation of a long range Master Plan, a process that included the full and active support of the City of Springfield and the Springfield Central Area Development Association. The final Master Plan received unanimous endorsement from area public and private officials. That level of support was attainable because the Master Plan offered unique opportunities for new development in planned settings, as well as prospects for smaller in-fill developments interspersed throughout the area. Additionally, numerous opportunities were presented for historic preservation initiatives at strategic locations.
Because it was recognized that the Master Plan could not be fully implemented without a significant public investment, a Tax Increment Finance District was established. This designation was instrumental in attracting both experienced developers and major investors. Today, the results of careful planning and the thoughtful and prudent use of state development incentives is vividly apparent in such projects as the $25 million Renaissance Hotel, the $15 million preservation of the Lincoln Square Apartments, the internationally recognized $150 million Abraham Lincoln Library which attracts over 5 million people annually, and numerous other new developments. This initiative provides a clear example of the need for careful planning to allow for targeted new growth and rehabilitation that can be supported by state financing incentives. Now, the Springfield Central Area is looked upon as an extraordinarily successful public-private partnership.