The City has modified a previously-released request for proposal (RFP) due to overwhelming interest from potential partners, including local growers, educational institutions, local markets, non-profits, and private businesses. The new RFP offers the opportunity to lease designated land, adjacent to the Renewable Energy Center, for the Agriculture Park in which the facility would be developed and constructed in partnership with the City. No tax money is included to help fund the project.
In addition, the modified RFP encompasses input received from growers, community leaders and future partners from the past several years. This translated into an increased 120 day proposal submittal. Most importantly, it influenced the finalization of these seven specific proposal goals:
- Greenhouse(s) utilizing waste heat from the Noble Hill Energy Center, including back up heat source.
- Provide locally grown, fresh, produce for local and regional markets that reduces the region's dependency on imported products.
- Provide education, research, and job training opportunities for Springfield's schools and higher education institutions.
- Provide a source of locally grown healthy foods to local food pantries.
- Provide local jobs and business opportunities by recruiting Springfield area partners and employees to manage and work at the new facility.
- Provide satisfactory terms for land lease rates, purchase of waste heat, and purchase of other utilities.
- Provide other innovative uses of project site(s) and additional community benefits