spfld turner 022724SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Doris Turner announced Tuesday that two areas of Springfield are being recognized as State-Designated Cultural Districts.

"During my time on Springfield City Council, I began working on ways to integrate our Black history while incorporating economic development opportunities throughout our communities,” said Turner (D-Springfield). “These official designations are essential to preserving our history, highlighting our important legacy and significant contributions from the Great Migration and onward.”

State-Designated Cultural Districts are communities, towns or specific geographic areas that have a distinct shared historical and cultural identity that binds the community together. The purpose of the program is to encourage economic development, support the preservation and development of history and culturally significant structures, traditions and languages, foster local cultural development and education, provide a focal point for celebrating communities’ unique cultural identities, and promote equitable growth and opportunity without generating displacement.

“In a landmark day for Springfield, the awarding of two cultural district designations to East Springfield - the Southtown Cultural District and the Central East Cultural District - reinforces a principle we’ve long held dear: effective leadership is crucial,” said Springfield Project President Dominic Watson. “The Springfield Project is immensely proud to collaborate with Senator Turner in fostering a community where inclusivity and mutual benefit are the cornerstones. This achievement not only honors our city’s rich history but also paves the way for a more welcoming and prosperous future for all our residents.”

The new districts in Springfield, Central East Cultural District and Southtown Cultural District, are led by efforts from the Springfield Urban League Inc. and the Springfield Project. Now, they will be eligible to apply for $3 million in funding that will be tailored to fit the needs of individual Cultural Districts and support the goals of the program to foster economic development and help communities preserve their unique cultural identities.

“We stand at a pivotal juncture in our history, where the recognition of Springfield's Central East Cultural District not only honors our past but also paves the way for a future brimming with opportunity and inclusivity," said President & CEO of the Springfield Urban League Marcus E. Johnson. "I extend my deepest gratitude to Senator Doris Turner, Governor Pritzker, and Lieutenant Governor Stratton for their visionary leadership. This designation magnifies the legacy and contributions of our community, aligning perfectly with the Springfield Urban League's mission to empower and uplift."

Learn more about the Springfield Project and Springfield Urban League, Inc.