The battle in University Heights continues. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

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by Donelle Blubaugh, Springfield

In the April 13 Springfield Daily Citizen article about the vacant and dilapidated buildings along Sunshine between National and Glenstone, reporter Jack Magee notes: “(Ralph) Duda is convinced that, if they are able to rezone the property, a mixed-use development that could incorporate residential and commercial tenants will be successful at that intersection due, in part, to the location and sheer amount of traffic that commutes through the adjacent intersection.”

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Mr. Duda and city officials forget that BK&M is not ultimately responsible for the success of businesses that may occupy its proposed development at National and Sunshine. Traffic alone does not predict success. That depends on the nature of each business, the talent of business managers and staff and the degree to which the businesses serve community interests and needs.

To date, BK&M’s plans are vague at best and deceptive at worst. There are no named tenants awaiting development, and serious issues remain about access, environmental impact, and even the legality of the rezoning request. 

The residents of University Heights and the four adjoining neighborhoods are not convinced by Mr. Duda’s optimism. I respectfully ask the City Council members who represent the people who live here and pay millions in property taxes annually to take heed.