From across Chestnut Expressway, The entrance of Historic Springfield City Hall.
From across Chestnut Expressway, The entrance of Historic Springfield City Hall. (Photo by Dean Curtis)

Improvements to Historic City Hall, the Springfield Animal Shelter and some fire stations top the list of municipal building projects on tap across Springfield.

On March 6, the Springfield City Council voted 8-0 to finance $15.5 million worth of building and renovation through special obligation improvement bonds. The City of Springfield will then use revenue from the level property tax to pay off the debt service from the bonds.

Springfield Director of Finance David Holtmann gave a breakdown at a previous City Council meeting Feb. 21. It featured an estimated $6 million in repairs to the 132-year-old Historic City Hall at the corner of Boonville Avenue and Chestnut Expressway.

The $15.5 million list of projects represents the second in a planned series of bond lettings.

“This is the second of three planned bond issues using the city’s level property tax as the funding source for repayment of these bonds,” Holtmann said. “These projects were identified during the 2017 level property tax campaign.”

The Historic City Hall project will be carried out using a method called construction manager at risk, or CMAR, which is meant to help manage costs and streamline the project. A guaranteed maximum price is set during the design process, and the construction manager of the project covers the fees if it exceeds the costs set.

Jennifer Swan, the architect for the city, detailed the renovations to be made from the basement to the third floor in a presentation to council members. 

“The improvements include the addition of a new elevator interior fire stair, accessible restrooms, upgraded mechanical and electrical systems, office space for various city departments, improvements to the city council chambers, improved archive storage space,” Swan said at a Jan. 23 meeting.

The Springfield Animal Shelter will undergo more than $4.8 million in upgrades, with the city of Springfield contributing approximately $3.38 million from the level property tax revenue bonds. Greene County has committed another $1.5 million to the project. The two governments share the animal shelter on North Farmer Avenue, which is operated by Springfield-Greene County Animal Control.

There’s also $2.74 million for fire stations and $1.2 million for a Springfield Department of Public Works maintenance and office building at Hazelwood Cemetery. The 155-year-old cemetery is one of the largest city-run cemeteries in Missouri. It spans about 60 acres and has more than 44,000 burial plots.

Holtmann explained that the finance department also set aside more wiggle room than usual, to reflect the instability of the construction climate in Springfield.

“We’re planning a little bit larger contingency totaling $1,776,000,” Holtmann said.

Interest rates are climbing, Holtmann said the true cost for interest should be about 4.1 percent. For the first round of level property tax revenue bond projects, the interest rate was less than 3 percent.

“Not terrible, but not great,” Holtmann said.

Rance Burger

Rance Burger covers local government for the Daily Citizen. His goal is to help people know more about what projects their government is involved in, and how their tax dollars are being spent. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger