Clark County residents took to social media this week to make suggestions about what should replace the Upper Valley Mall after its closure in June.
Clark County’s announcement that the Upper Valley Mall in Springfield would close to the public June 16 went viral across social media Thursday.
The Springfield News-Sun’s Facebook page was flooded with over 400 comments about the decision to close the mall and what could be put in its place. Here is what some residents suggested for the property.
One of the most popular suggestions was a big-bulk grocery store like Costco or Sam’s Club but multiple residents suggested residential apartments or a senior living facility.
“I would love to see it made into an indoor city for the mentally challenged/handicapped. Complete with a grocery store, movie theater, support staff housing and a transportation hub,” Scott Pakalnis commented. “The need is real.”
“Retirement apartments in each of the old stores. Common areas, dining areas, parking included for residents,” Steve Risteff commented. “Set it up like a cruise ship, but for permanent residency.”
“Make it home for the elderly. Could have doctor’s office, restaurants, etc. and plenty of room for housing,” Kristie Mcmanamay commented.
Another running theme was a location for children and others to have somewhere to play indoors, whether it be sports or arcade games.
“Make it into an indoor play place,” Stacy Robinson commented. “Like Scene 75 but have sports and trampolines.”
“It would be nice to have something like a Dave N Busters or Scene 75,” Angie Simonton commented.
Talks of a sports complex coming to the mall took over social media about two years ago after Home Plate Sports Academy published a now-viral Facebook post in February 2019 stating they had spoken with “new owners” of the mall and a sports complex was coming to the shopping center.
Clark County officials never commented on the sports complex, only telling the Springfield News-Sun they are “always engaged in negotiations.”
Many pointed out that the mall should be converted to some sort of fitness center, as some residents use the mall for indoor walking.
“My heart goes out to all those using this facility for walking! Hopefully they can create an affordable fitness center for all ages,” Susan Judy commented.
“Maybe the (Clark County Combined) health district could take over the inside for a track,” Anastasia Smith commented.
According to Commissioner President Melanie Flax Wilt, the county has had potential buyers express interest in the property, but nothing has been set in stone.
“It could be like a mixed-used building, like industrial, potentially a buyer could want to do something completely different. But we want to leave that up to them,” Flax Wilt said. “Our analysis tells us now that (the mall) would be a lot better contributor to the economy and provide a lot more jobs for people in our community in a different use.”
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