ICON – Inner City Older Neighborhoods – holds its annual meeting and "Celebration" Nov. 27. This hardworking organization celebrates by honoring supporters with "good neighbor" awards. But it is ICON that most deserves the honor. For 13 years now, the group has been meeting and strategizing, dutifully attending city council meetings and generally doing the grunt work that can result in systemic change. Its issues include "problem properties," with problems ranging from irresponsible landlords, to dysfunctional tenants, to trying to get the city to tear down abandoned houses. Reforming Springfield's garbage collection system has been difficult, so fly dumping remains a problem, but ICON keeps trying. Many challenges remain, including racial inequity and distrust. Historic preservation, which could make old neighborhoods sparkle, has never been a Springfield priority. Rules surrounding TIF funds make them hard to use for rehabbing residential properties. Through all these challenges, over all these years, ICON persists, reminding all who will listen, "You don't have to move to live in a better neighborhood." – Fletcher Farrar, editor

Fletcher Farrar

Fletcher Farrar is the editor of Illinois Times .

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