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SDAT Suggests Removing Fence Around Old State Capitol
City leaders are evaluating the need for green space downtown, and an attractive option involves the front lawn to a historic site.
The Sustainable Design Assessment Team, or SDAT, looked at ways the City of Springfield could create places where people could enjoy the outdoors. One suggestion is take down the fence at the Old State Capitol.
It's a site that tourists mark at the top of their list when visiting the Land of Lincoln, sitting right in the hear of downtown Springfield.
But the Old State Capitol is now at the heart of a broader discussion as the city looks to close in on ways to improve the urban core.
"That's just what you kind of get when you move into the city," Springfield resident Kellie Sadino said. "There's not a lot of green spaces within a city."
The SDAT study is recommending more space for public access where people can enjoy being outside downtown.
Co-chair Chuck Pell said one suggestion is to use the Old State Capitol's front lawn.
"So there will be a much broader discussion about green space and part of it will involved the Old State Capitol," Pell said. "But by no means will it be the focus of the entire discussion."
Within the recommendation, it suggests taking down part of the fence, pointing out the low wall would make a good seating space for a more pedestrian-friendly area.
"Lay a blanket down read a book for awhile," Kurt Samel said. "I don't know any green space where you can do that kind of thing."
In a statement, The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency said they have serious concerns. They said the fence encircled the building during Abraham Lincoln's time, so it would be against the mission of the Old State Capitol Historic Site--something residents latch on to.
"I don't think that we should make something like this into a playground," Sadino said. "I think we need to keep its integrity."