Photo by Dean Olsen.
Sportsman’s Lounge, 229 W. Mason St., a neighborhood tavern and restaurant in Springfield for more than a century, would be torn down to clear the site for construction of a three-building, 24-unit apartment complex for formerly homeless people, as part of a plan to be considered Aug. 16 by the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission and Sept. 19 by the Springfield City Council.


Yes, we absolutely need to do better by our homeless population in Springfield. But why would city officials support deconstructing a historic, recently renovated, successful, affordable and downright amazing family-friendly bar and grill that generates tax revenue for the town to build homeless housing ("More housing for the homeless," Aug. 3)? Ten percent of commercial real estate in this town sits vacant, while we build more. The percentage of vacant and deteriorating rentals in the community continues to increase, with large-scale apartments all over the city sitting empty like little ghost towns (Bluebird Court, the Bally Vaughn apartments across from SHG, etc.). There is definitely no shortage of vacant commercial real estate.

Aaron Graves



I can't believe Sportsman's Lounge could be sold to a developer. This town thrives on destroying history. I guess money wins.

Pat Mrosko Pedigo



My great-grandfather owned this building when it was Benner's; this saddens me that it will be torn down. We always celebrate my grandmother's birthday here, per her request, and she proudly tells us stories about when she was a little girl and her father was running this bar. This is incredibly unfortunate that out of all the vacant locations around Springfield that they chose this place.

Alicia Carter



I recently traveled east on North Grand from Ninth Street to Michigan Street, and then past the properties along the intersection of Division and 10th streets. I was horrified at the condition of the properties on the south side of North Grand Avenue and the entire neighborhood going south ("City council grapples with blighted city-owned property," June 22).

Within a few short weeks we will be expecting children to start walking to school past buildings with broken windows, kicked-in doors and unkept lawns strewn with trash.  Over half the structures along this stretch are open to the elements, transients and whoever else may stumble through. It would be easy to blame the numerous slumlords that blight the city neighborhoods, but that would be an incorrect assignment of responsibility.  These properties are owned by the city, taken as part of the rail consolidation project.

I'm in full support of the bigger project, but incredibly frustrated by the city's willingness to ignore these properties. I'm familiar with the city's willingness to fine homeowners when needed, but who is holding the city of Springfield accountable?

Lauren Baker



It was challenging reading about a successful white cannabis entrepreneur when so many poor people and people of color are still in jail for the same activity ("Springfield's cannabis entrepreneur," Aug. 3).

Carey Smith


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