The 2021 Community Focus Report Now Available Online and in Print
The 2021 Community Focus Report for Springfield & Greene County—the biennial report card that highlights the community's strengths and challenges—is now available to the public.
The format of this year's report (pdf) is new to account for the dramatic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic since the 2019 report. The traditional 11 topic areas and their Red Flags and Blue Ribbons have been released over the past several weeks as a series of white papers in advance of the printed edition.
The printed edition (pdf), released Thursday, Oct. 21, at this website, takes the 11 topics and views them through the lens of five widely accepted Social Determinants of Health: Economic Stability; Education Access and Quality; Health Care Access and Quality; Neighborhood and Built Environment; and Social and Community Context. The goal: To understand how our strengths and challenges affected our response to the pandemic.
The report also notes six overall themes from the Blue Ribbons and Red Flags:
- The need to regain momentum: The pandemic halted progress in several areas where the community had been making strides as of 2019. The Forward SGF visioning effort is once again restarting, and major construction projects are once again underway throughout the community.
- Diversity, equity and inclusion: Over the past decade, Springfield and Greene County have become more diverse—a key component to helping attract and retain talent in the area. It will be a critical piece to helping tackle the shortage of skilled workers in the area, a Red Flag.
- Community health: Our health care system—public and private—took center stage during the pandemic as organizations collaborated to take care of the community and ensure everyone's safety and health. Burrell Behavioral Health's Rapid Access Unit, highlighted in multiple white papers, shows how the health sector is exploring innovative ways to confront our Red Flags across topics. Unfortunately, treating repeated waves of COVID patients has taken its toll on the community's first responders and health care workers.
- The community's changing image: Our community continued to grow faster than much of the rest of the state, but that rate of growth is slower than cities seen as desirable places in which to live, such as Nashville, Tennessee, and Fayetteville, Arkansas. In recent years, leaders have put more focus on placemaking, developing distinctive amenities and offerings that not only bring skilled talent to the area but keep such professionals, entrepreneurs and innovators here.
- Collective action: For years, Springfield and Greene County—driven by nonprofits and the faith community—have provided a base of support for addressing problems and helping those in need. Through many organizations, we have volunteered time and donated resources to build community. The region now finds itself at a pivotal moment as longtime community leaders retire, and the next generation rises.
- Ongoing investment: Success requires investment, and over the past few years, Springfield and Greene County residents have supported numerous infrastructure initiatives: a $168 million bond issue for Springfield Public Schools is adding new buildings and resources for more than 24,000 students and their families; the renewal of the 1/4-cent capital improvements sales tax and 1/8-cent transportation sales tax ensure investments in roads and capital projects over the next 20 years; and the adoption of sewer-rate increases will support wastewater, stormwater and overall water quality protection efforts into 2025.
The printed report (pdf) provides a broad report card for the community. For more detail, dig into the 11 topical white papers, which are also available on this website.
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