The six business owners and advocates of neighborhood preservation appointed to an advisory council Monday by Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin will have veto power over a future master plan for the city's medical district.
The 2003 state law that formed the Illinois Medical District at Springfield required such a panel be formed to give neighborhoods leverage in the master plan.
"I really like the atmosphere of the north end," said Kathy McClain, one of the Medical District Advisory Council members, who lives in the Oak Ridge neighborhood. "I like the feel of the old, the feel of the homes and the people. And I'm interested in protecting and saving that piece of Springfield."
The mayor said the people he appointed were recommended by neighborhood groups.
"They bring a wealth of experience with neighborhood and community issues that will be vital to the work of the Medical District Commission," Davlin said.
The advisory council is expected to hold its first meeting early next month, but a date hasn't been set.
Appointed to the panel were:
Fletcher Farrar, 56, of 1001 N. Seventh St. and Linda Maier, 52, of 1029 N. Fourth St., representing the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association;
McClain, 47, of 1221 N. Franklin Ave. and Christopher Spinner, 48, of 1306 S. Douglas Ave., representing the Oak Ridge Neighborhood Association; and
Carolyn Oxtoby, 73, of 216 S. Sixth St. and Steve Myers, 43, of rural Menard County, representing Downtown Springfield Inc.
The district and its future master plan are designed to make Springfield a more attractive place for expansion of the medical-services industry, the second-largest employer in Sangamon County behind state government.
A master zoning plan for the district is being developed by the nine-member commission and the commission's consultants - RTKL Associates Inc. of Baltimore. The plan will need approval from the commission, the advisory council and the Springfield City Council before it can take effect.
Only one of the nine commissioners, Maureen Mulhall, lives in the medical district, although most of them work in the district. Two of the six advisory council members live in the district.
The district is home to 4,500 people and is bounded by North Grand Avenue and by Walnut, 11th and Madison streets. The district also is home to numerous doctors' offices and to Memorial Medical Center, St. John's Hospital and the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
State law gave the mayor the power to appoint two representatives to the advisory council from each recognized neighborhood group that he decided has a "legitimate interest" in development and improvement of the medical district. All three neighborhoods have property in the district.
Farrar, co-owner of the Illinois Times weekly newspaper, is married and has two grown daughters. He lives in the district and owns rental properties in Enos Park. He is president of a not-for-profit organization that rehabilitates aging homes in Enos Park for single-family occupancy.
He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston.
Maier, a real-estate agent, is single and lives in the district. The Springfield native has a bachelor's degree in social work from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
McClain, a laboratory manager for TMI Analytical, is married and has two grown sons. She lives a block north of the medical district and was born in Springfield. McClain received a bachelor's degree in biology from the former Sangamon State University, now the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Spinner, who is married and has two sons, lives outside the medical district, but his business, Spinner Plastics, 1108 N. First St., is on the north side of the district. Born and raised in Springfield, he earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Oxtoby, owner of Oxtoby Properties, is a downtown property owner and developer. The Springfield native, a widow with three children, has a bachelor's degree in French from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
Myers, who lives on a farm in Menard County, was born and raised in Springfield. Married and the father of two children, he is a commercial real-estate broker based at Fifth and Washington streets. He also is former president of Downtown Springfield Inc., a not-for-profit group that promotes downtown development.
Myers, who studied political science at the University of Missouri at Columbia, said the futures of downtown Springfield and the medical district are intertwined.
"The social and economic linkages of the two entities are critical to the success of both of them," he said.
Dean Olsen can be reached at 788-1543 or email@example.com.