Springfield to decide the fate of two entertainment venues

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 10:17 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Monday night’s Springfield City Council meeting drew a large crowd.

Council members are mulling over two agenda items that seem to have struck a nerve with the community.

The first is The Hotel of Terror. Owner Sterling Mathis says it’s been providing entertainment for haunted house seekers since the 1970′s. The city wants to take over the land it’s on and knock the building down to use the area as part of the Renew Jordan Creek project.

“The use of condemnation is always a last resort. Our right-of-way staff has done everything they can to reach an agreement. But after 3 years of negotiations and multiple offers, we feel we’re at an impasse. Therefore, we request the council’s approval to move forward with eminent domain,” said Chris Dunnaway with the city of Springfield.

But the owner of the property says he’s being lowballed when it comes to compensation.

“I can’t do it for 50 percent of what they’re telling me to do. I know you’re going to talk about the baseball park later tonight. You’re talking 16 million for that. People love baseball. People love Hotel of Terror too,” said Mathis.

The second big ticket item discussed was Hammons Field. The city announced that it intends to buy the stadium that’s the home of the Springfield Cardinals Minor League Baseball team.

Business owners say the stadium and the team are important to the city’s livelihood.

“The stadium and the Springfield Cardinals have been a real boon to our community, a real driver of economic change, and development. Keeping that as an agent of economic growth in our area is definitely necessary,” said Jim Meadows.

While others, like Alice Barber, say the money needs to be put to better use.

She asked, “In a city where the average retail worker doesn’t make enough money to afford a one-bedroom apartment, where there’s not enough affordable housing and people can’t get into housing because of something that happened years and years ago, is Hammon’s Field more important than housing?”

Council is scheduled to vote to condemn and take over the Hotel of Horror’s property at the next council meeting in two weeks.

The vote for Hammons Field will be held during a council lunch on February 14.

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