A Springfield nonprofit hopes to restore housing within city limits

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (The Heartlander) — A nonprofit is starting a new initiative to improve housing conditions and rundown neighborhoods in Springfield.

Brendan Griesemer, assistant director of planning and development for the city of Springfield, says a mere 40% of Springfield residents actually own their homes. Restore SGF, a nonprofit founded in 2019 and focused on improving the city’s housing conditions, would like to see those numbers improve.

Restore SGF is currently looking to hire a professional consultant to analyze housing stock data to present to the city. Once research is complete, the organization and those helping with the initiative will know which neighborhoods are on the brink of destruction and need help.

Griesemer says the group will focus on four areas at a time, but does not yet know which neighborhoods will be first in line for renovations. Certain decaying neighborhoods can be generational in nature, he says.

City housing study to tailor neighborhood revitalization strategy

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (City of Springfield) — The City of Springfield will begin a housing-needs assessment and conditions study by the end of the year. It is anticipated that a consultant will be selected in the next month to perform the assessment.

“This will be a data driven study which will be used to identify citywide and neighborhood focused housing priorities and provide policy alternatives and intervention strategies to guide the City in decision making for future housing needs,” said Brendan Griesemer, assistant director of Planning & Development.

The assessment will be beneficial to Restore SGF, an initiative to increase home ownership, by providing important data needed to tailor programming to Springfield’s needs, including a detailed assessment of current housing conditions, demographics, market demands, housing gaps and strategies to mitigate these gaps. It will culminate with a written report with detailed recommendations and strategies for a neighborhood revitalization strategy/program and process to select and prioritize neighborhoods and corridors for planning work, resource allocation, plan implementation and progress measurement.

ARPA funding to help Restore SGF get off the ground

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (SGF Neighborhood News) — At its July 25 meeting, City Council approved Restore SGF’s $1 million request from the City’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund.

The ARPA funding, along with a $300,000 allocation from the City’s 2022-2023 fiscal year budget and investments totaling $240,000 disbursed over three years from Community Foundation of the Ozarks and several banking industry partners, will allow Restore SGF to hire staff and begin programming in the second quarter of 2023 with two grant programs – the Block Challenge Program and the Homeowner Improvement Program.

These programs are based on proven models in Des Moines, Iowa (Invest DSM) and other cities and will help residents make needed repairs, updates and renovations and improve the curb appeal of their properties, while at the same time encouraging them to engage with their neighbors.

A City-led housing study, which is anticipated to begin by the end of the year and conclude in 2023 will provide us with important data needed to tailor our programming to Springfield’s needs. 

Historic homes in north Springfield could get a facelift with (partly) free money

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Springfield Daily Citizen) — Becky Volz is passionate about preserving the historic homes in the Woodland Heights neighborhood, where she serves as president of the neighborhood association. 

She loves the front porches of the Craftsman- and Victorian-style homes and the big trees in their yards.

“You sit on your front porch and get to know your neighbors, see what’s going on up and down the street. It’s just a friendlier philosophy,” she said. “You don’t pull in your garage, close the door and go in the house.”

Despite its charm, Woodland Heights faces the same challenges as the other historic neighborhoods in north and central Springfield: a large number of nuisance properties and absentee landlords, an aging housing stock with homeowners who cannot afford to make the necessary repairs and a high percentage of renters versus homeowners. 

“That’s where I really feel like Restore SGF can kind of change the landscape of our properties,” she said.

Restore SGF announces first round of pledges to spur reinvestment in historic neighborhoods

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Restore SGF, a community initiative to improve housing conditions and raise residential property values in Springfield’s historic neighborhoods, started the new year with several pledges of support from local financial institutions. To date, almost $2 million has been pledged, with $1.5 million in loan funding and $250,000 in grants.

“Restore SGF continues to build momentum and excitement regarding funding and implementation. Thank you to Commerce Bank, Central Bank, OakStar Bank, Bancorp South, and Legacy Bank for their pledges,” said Community Foundation of the Ozarks President Brian Fogle. Fogle, a former banker, is a member of the initiative’s launch team. CFO has pledged $20,000 over five years ($100,000 total) in grant funding for Restore SGF, plus $500,000, for the initiative’s revolving loan fund.

How businesses are improving Springfield neighborhoods

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (OzarksFirst.com) — Local banks and loan companies have pledged almost $2 million to help encourage homeownership among Springfield residents and enhance the quality of homes in the city.

The “Restore SGF” program is a way for businesses to help Springfield’s low-to-moderate income neighborhoods and help improve the community. City officials drew inspiration from Des Moines, Iowa in implementing the program. They launched the effort in 2020, hoping to get more people to move to heritage neighborhoods, which are mostly located in the central and north part of town.

Brian Fogle, the president of Community Foundation of the Ozarks, said the non-profit pledged over $20,000 over five years, which will add up to $100,000 in funding for Restore SGF.