Excerpts from SJ-R article (3/29/19)
By Brenden Moore
The candidates were also asked about how they would work to fix some of the racial and economic inequities highlighted in “Segregated in the Heartland,” a series in Governing Magazine that highlighted disparities in downstate communities.
Acknowledging her status as “a white woman from the west side,” Ward 8 candidate Erin Conley said that candidates had been dancing around, offering various solutions, when “the heart of this is that we need to start having some very painful conversations.”
“It’s not just housing, it’s an attitude and it’s an experience that I cannot personally speak to very easily,” Conley said. “But I can absolutely open my heart and my mind and have a conversation that might be difficult to start, but we need to have that.”
On the issue of the Y-Block, the candidates for the most part agreed that a mixed-use development with green space and perhaps a university presence would be ideal.
“I think that anyone who’s ever been to a university campus, you’ll know that university campuses usually include green space, residential and some mixed business opportunities,” Conley said, who believed a university presence would lead to a beneficial ripple effect in downtown Springfield. “This is a prime opportunity for us.”