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Jefferson Crossing Green-Lighted; Alderman Holds Financial Stake in Anchor Tenant
Jefferson Crossing Green-Lighted; Alderman Holds Financial Stake in Anchor Tenant

Springfield aldermen have given developers the green light to build Jefferson Crossing — a multi-acre development that will sit on the northwest corner of Jefferson Street and Veterans Parkway.

Project manager Pat Ryan says hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent creating anywhere from 300 to 400 high paying local jobs.

“I would prefer to use local people when I do a project not in my normal area, and that’s what we’re going to do here,” says Ryan.

A Qik-N-EZ convenience store will anchor the development, and Ryan says other businesses are in the works.

“… in the medical field, restaurants, home goods stores… I can’t go any further than that,” says Ryan, noting negotiations with several businesses are still in the works.

The company will receive up to $9.2 million dollars from the Jefferson Crossing TIF over the next 16 years if property values increase enough to support it.

Ward 7 Alderman Joe McMenamin is concerned about the project, not only because it’s the largest TIF allocation in city history, but because he doesn’t think it’s a good project. During debate, and again during Old Business after his remarks were cut off by a call to question motion, McMenamin described what he called “opportunity cost” in response to the mayor and other city officials claiming there’s “no risk” to the city.

“Businesses that would locate in existing infrastructure would locate in new infrastructure, so that’s opportunity cost,” explained McMenamin. He noted that there are a lot of buildings along west Jefferson that could be used for new businesses, and worried that continued westward expansion will continue to negatively affect the city core.

“I don’t understand what you just said,” replied Mayor Mike Houston after McMenamin voiced his concerns.

The ordinance passed with eight aldermen voting yes, McMenamin voting no and one voting present.

Conflict of Interest?

The present vote came from Ward 9 Alderman Steve Dove, who holds a financial stake in Qik-N-EZ.

“Ethically, I need to be up front an open about it even though I’ve never received a penny from Qik-N-EZ in my investment,” said Dove. “Some people will say it’s a poor investment, but it’s a great investment for our ward.”

Dove says his father invested on his behalf as a wedding present in 1998, and it’s never made money.

Asked if it’s appropriate to advocate for the project, Dove said it’s his job as an alderman to represent the people in his ward who want the project.

Work could get underway on the new development in as little as 30 days.