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State of the City of Springfield in 2017

The Springfield Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Business Connections at the Prairie Capital Convention Center on Thursday. (WRSP)

The Springfield Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Business Connections at the Prairie Capital Convention Center on Thursday.

Mayor Jim Langfelder says this type of connection is what we need; business owners talking with other owners on how they can work together for this city to thrive.

This rings especially true when we're facing troubling economic times with no state budget.

“Springfield is a great community, but we can make it greater,” Mayor Langfelder said.

During the annual State of the City Address, Mayor Langfelder spoke in front of hundreds of people.

“We might not always agree, but our passion and our desire to do what is best for Springfield will guide us to new heights,” Langfelder added.

The mayor's speech addressed the economic climate the city is facing.

Mayor Langfelder says we've been through tough times, but we are stable.

He says the city sales, the largest revenue source for the corporate fund, was down $975,000 compared to last year.

“The revenue drop combined with closing store fronts definitely accentuate the importance of shopping local,” Langfelder added.

The mayor and Springfield's Chamber of Commerce have been working toward bringing more opportunities to the area.

The Chamber’s President & CEO, Chris Hembrough, says what's holding entrepreneurs back is the uncertainty in the state.

“I was talking to a business just recently who said ‘a year and a half ago, two years ago our business was at its best in the past 20 years, but it has been a slow decline since then,’” Hembrough said.

On the bright side, the mayor did highlight his successes during his past two years in office.

One of the mayor’s successes being an increase in the hotel/motel tax that is going to address maintenance at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Also, the 11th Street extension to UIS will start this year.

It's a project his dad started when he was mayor.

“So it shows how long things take unfortunately. We are trying to speed it up so be patient my alma mater,” Mayor Langfelder said.

The mayor says another major future project the city is looking to finish is the transportation hub across the street from the convention center.

The city and county are still in need of money to finish the development.

He says he'll be going to Washington D.C. to work towards getting the rest of the funding.

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