Picture This Springfield

I was reading through the comments of an article posted on the Capitol Fax blog regarding Decatur’s recent bottom of the barrel ratings for economic growth.  It’s eye-opening and painful to read other people’s comments about Decatur.  Most people feel sorry for us.  Others remark that our air stinks and that the city looks beat up.

Well, I can’t argue on too many of those points but I have to say that whenever I visit Springfield, I realize how much more I like Decatur.  Springfield is a flat, boring landscape, with caved in sidewalks, way too many one way streets, unnecessarily long stop lights, dirty parking lots, and scary neighborhoods with bars on the windows, reminiscent of East St. Louis. I always feel the need to prepare my soul for my maker before using that horrible bypass on the south side, which really doesn’t bypass any traffic at all.  It shoots you down a 10 ft ramp into the middle of a traffic jam going 85 mph, with semis trying to go 105 on your back bumper.  That’s the Springfield I know.  So Springfield, you ain’t all that either!  I love you but hey, you could do some improving too.

It just goes to show how powerful our brief impressions of a city, we’re not that familiar with, can forever characterize a city in our minds.

When I think of Decatur, I picture this:

Merchant Street under lights.

When outsiders think of Decatur, they picture (and smell) this:


My Decatur…

Ducks crossing the road at Nelson Park

Their Decatur…


My Decatur…

Nelson Park Decatur


Their Decatur… (Actually, this is a picture of Mars.)

Mysterious Mars Photo

Wait a minute, that’s not Mars.  That’s Springfield!  I’d recognize that landscape anywhere! Hee Hee.



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