Merchants team up to boost downtown Springfield

Merchants team up to boost downtown Springfield »Play Video

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Like a vigorous mid-day workout, Jazzercise manager Lisa Sprague and other Springfield merchants are trying to "pump up" downtown.  They've formed a grassroots no-name committee to get some action started.

"We're trying to look at bringing more people downtown now, because some of these things take, you know, a good amount of time," said Sprague.

They're changing the face of downtown Springfield, one flower pot at a time. Merchants are banding together to speed up downtown revitalization and spruce up empty storefronts.

"The city is willing to help, to put some beautiful historical pictures in the windows," Sprague said. "We're going to streamline the 'For Rent' signs."

And they've planted those flowers in the tree wells, all paid for out of their own pockets.

Washburne Cafe owner Karen Hageman said a lot of momentum is building. 

"It's been this really great synergy that's been happening downtown and it's exciting to be a part of it," said Hageman.

Customers downtown on Tuesday liked the merchants' initiative.

"I think it's great that they're trying to revive the downtown of Springfield," Margaret Stevenson said. "It's a great place and it has a lot of community people here."
"It would be nice to see more businesses down here and little mom and pop kind of places," Jackie Barrett said.
In short, close to 25 merchants teamed up to kick downtown decay in the glutes.

The next step is for the group to make a presentation before the City Council to seek official designation, then it can apply to a national group called Main Street USA and try to get grants to fund even more projects.