click to enlarge When the city sued two years ago to force fixes to this house, it discovered that the owner had died in 1964. - PHOTO BY BRUCE RUSHTON
Photo By Bruce Rushton
When the city sued two years ago to force fixes to this house, it discovered that the owner had died in 1964.

A big thanks to Bruce Rushton for his recent articles highlighting Springfield's problem with problem properties ("Blight fight," Feb. 25 and "Code violations pile up, city slow to act," March 4). Through his in-depth research and clear reporting, I felt he shared the pain that Springfield residents feel as they deal with problem properties in their neighborhoods.

Springfield ICON (Inner City Older Neighborhoods) has been working on problem properties since we started in 2009. The ICON Problem Property Committee has been focusing on problem property issues since 2017. After considering the problems and solutions from nearby similar-sized cities, the committee identified, tracked and documented problem properties, documented the issues and shared the first draft of the ICON platform two years ago with the mayor and city council members. Based on their feedback, we've made changes to our proposed solution and will soon present updated solutions to city leaders.

Many Springfield neighborhoods have problem properties, not just the older neighborhoods. Support your neighborhood, support other neighborhoods, preserve property values and help to ensure a good quality of life throughout Springfield. Get involved in your neighborhood association. Turn in a problem property and don't be discouraged at the lack of response from the city – keep reporting it until it gets fixed.

To support ICON's efforts or learn more, visit Working together, we can make positive change in Springfield.
Bill Baskett
ICON Chair/Problem Property Committee Chair

I enjoyed reading your recent article on the planned new elementary school ("Springfield's new elementary school: Laketown and Hazel Dell to get a $22.6 million replacement," March 4). My reason for writing is to suggest to those in charge to have some kind of going-away event for each school.

Personally, I went to Hazel Dell Elementary and have lived in Laketown my whole life. My father had our house built on Huntington Road when there were corn fields behind us (where Queensway Road is now). We were a founding family; I believe I was 3 years old at the time and am now 66. Both my parents passed away while they lived there.

I always thought it was strange how Laketown was divided into two schools; I didn't know half of the kids my age because of that. I'm still best friends with Kathy, who walked with me to and from Hazel Dell Elementary. I know I would love one last look, and I'll bet there are a lot more like me.
Nancy Rice

In his 40 years of pursuing justice, Sen. Dick Durbin has been an absolute failure ("Springfield's man on Capitol Hill," March 4). On the other hand, if he thinks supporting Planned Parenthood and abortion is justice, then he has succeeded. But, using taxpayer money to help Planned Parenthood and others to kill over 60 million babies is an abomination. That is why he was booted from his Springfield church. It's past time for Mr. Durbin to leave the swamp.
Ken Oglesby

This is a prime example of why term limits are necessary. Public service was never intended to be a career.
Paul Clark

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