Best of Springfield®

Best Use Of The Y Block / Best Free Entertainment

Levitt AMP Springfield music series

Photo by Carol Weems

Levitt AMP Springfield music series

Sometimes, less is more, and readers agree that’s the case with the Y Block, purchased from the state a mayor ago for north of $1 million – you can almost hear legislators chortling all the way to the bank. OK, so it wasn’t the world’s smartest real-estate deal, particularly since a ginormous sewer beneath the property limits what can be built above. We’ve seen proposals for shops and offices and apartments, for which there is, judging by space-available signs posted on existing downtown buildings, less than insatiable demand. An idea for a park that would have been paid for by former Gov. Bruce Rauner lasted about as long as former Gov. Bruce Rauner. Some folks want a law school, for which no money has materialized. When the city mistakenly included the Y block on a list of surplus properties last winter with a $500 minimum bid, no one made an offer. We found out too late. Otherwise, Honest Uncle John’s RV Park and Karaoke Emporium would already be in business. Some boondoggles have a way of sorting themselves out, and the Y Block appears well on its way with a series of summer concerts this year that made a vast expanse of grass in the middle of downtown seem not such a bad thing. There was reggae and classical music and folk and much more, all for free. Kids danced and food trucks appeared and folks picnicked, thanks to the Levitt Foundation, a nonprofit bunch of do-gooders who make life a bit happier throughout America by paying for live music in public spaces. Let’s hope it happens again next summer and the summer after that and the summer after that and the summer after that…

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