National Night Out Tuesday August 2, 5-8pm

Join us for National Night Out on August 2nd from 5-8pm at the Enos Park Pavillion.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live.


  • Food & drinks
  • Kids games and activities
  • Dunk tank – Come out and dunk your favorite local celebrity!   All proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity.
  • K-9 demonstration


April Meeting – Tuesday April 10, 7pm

Next Tuesday, April 10th, 7 p.m. the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association will hold its membership meeting in the Assisi Conference Room at St. John’s Hospital. We will review the Green Up Clean Up program for 2012. In an effort to improve the exterior look and safety of owner occupied homes, Enos Park Development LLC will provide matching grants up to $500 for general improvements and up to $1,000 for specific work done on siding. I’ve attached the April Banner that explains the program in more detail and has an application you can fill out and bring with you to the meeting. There are limits to how many awards will be granted and how much time you have to apply. We will also review the current status of our efforts to secure blighted properties and our success in finding new home owners.


Download the Green Up Clean Up application… (PDF)

St. John’s Lincoln Half Marathon Sat, April 7, 8-11am

Marathon Day Volunteers Needed!
The annual Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon will be held on Saturday, April 7 beginning at 7:30 am. The race begins at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and ends at the Prairie Heart Institute, which means that the runners will be coming through Enos Park. In the past, EPNIA has provided volunteers to serve as course marshals for the various crossings between Carpenter and North Grand. We are looking for 12-14 people who would be available on Saturday morning to help out with the crossings and encourage the runners as they pass through our neighborhood. Contact Steve Combs at 494-6668 if you can help.

Creating Inner City Suburbs: Blots

Read about the process of “blotting” – homeowners taking possession of adjacent abandoned property to expand small city lots into suburb-sized “blots”.

Enterprising homeowners are changing the landscape in many depopulated cities, bringing the look of spacious suburbs to abandoned urban neighborhoods. For less than the cost of an airplane ticket, in some instances, owners can acquire lots next door to create their own oasis, complete with pools, courtyards or even orchards. Cities, meanwhile, are spared the upkeep of these properties. “I think it’s a good strategy” for our 60,000 vacant lots, says Marja Winters, deputy director of Detroit’s Planning and Development Department. “In a lot of them, there’s no interest, so why not put them in the hands of citizens that are going to own it and care for it?”

This type of side-yard expansion, once expensive and time-consuming, has taken off in recent years as cities have foreclosed on abandoned properties, putting them in a land bank to be sold to interested parties.

How blotting works
The process of acquiring vacant lots around an owner’s property is different in every city and can take anywhere from 90 days to nine months, depending on the process and approvals necessary. Owners, in most cases, must demonstrate ownership of their own property and prove that it is up to code and that they have the means to maintain it. They also must inform the city of their plans for the lot they wish to acquire. Many cities require these lots to be fenced in, and some will provide fencing material.

What does a blot look like?
These blots run the gamut from two small lots to four or five, and can take up most of a city block. For some, the extra space has provided a place to put in a wheelchair ramp or a raised garden bed, or allowed for the planting of trees for privacy. Others have prompted large additions such as a new wing or a move to change the orientation of the house to face away from the street and to a central garden.

The problem with blots
Of course, larger lots don’t solve the problems that some of these emptied-out neighborhoods have with crime, and they can’t replace prime amenities, parks or good schools. Gethers, who moved to the neighborhood in the early 1990s when every house was occupied, still doesn’t like having a vacant house across the street and empty lots next to her, but she says so far there has been no vandalism or vagrants. “We would really love to have neighbors” move in there, she says. Without much oversight from the city or neighborhood groups, some side-yard expansions have wound up as car parks or places for people to store their junk, Dewar says.

Changing the urban footprint?
It remains to be seen just how much of an impact blotting will have on the urban landscape in cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and New Orleans. Right now, these big lots make up just a small fraction of the tens of thousands of vacant lots the cities own in these areas. Many blighted sections of these cities are so filled with apartments and renters that there’s not enough vacant land, or non-landlord owners, to create blots. Time will tell just how much blots bring up property values in the areas where this expansion has been allowed. Harris looks at it this way: “You can actually sell a house now on this street.”

Read the full story by Melinda Fulmer of MSN Real Estate

Download the PDF…
Read the full story on MSN Real Estate…

February Membership Meeting: Historic Walking Tours

Assisi Conference Room in St. John’s Hospital
Tuesday, February 14th, 7 pm QR codePlease join us to find out more about the podcast videos, QR codes and Historical Tours being created and coordinated by the Robert Morris University students.

We will be reviewing some of their projects and how new technology can be used to revisit and revitalize our past.

Did You Know from Enos Park Banner Newsletter February, 2012
Steve Combs, President

Your smart phone can be used as your tour guide on the historic walks being prepared for Enos Park. If you have a smart phone to scan a QR code like the one to the right, you can link to a website or download and view a video about a home or distinguished resident of the neighborhood.

The QR code here links to the EPNIA website, www. Future plans may incorporate GPS technology to allow effortless access to online information based on a visitor’s location within the neighborhood.

Intern students from Robert Morris University are preparing online videos as part of the Association’s efforts to bring Enos Park’s history and people back to life. In addition to using enactors for the tour programs, we hope to set up a live enactment later in the fall as part of our Historic Homes Tour.

Stephan A. Douglas started his 1858 Senate campaign in the black walnut grove (4th and Dodge) just north of Edwards Place, Abraham Lincoln and Mary attended the 1860 wedding
of Ozias Hatch and Julia Enos at the Enos home, 1005 N 7th, his last social event in Springfield before he left for Washington, D.C., and General John McClernand, who lived at 801 N 6th, was in charge of local arrangements for Lincoln’s funeral and burial in Oak Ridge Cemetery which included the 10th Illinois Cavalry, a current enactment group.

The historic information and pictures in this newsletter have been taken from the 1997 study of Enos Park by Fever River Research, Floyd Mansberger and his staff. Additional information can be obtained from the Sangamon Valley Collection at the Lincoln Public Library.

Smart walk:Enos Park uses technology to promote its history
By Patrick Yeagle
, Illinois Times
Thursday, February 16,2012

Steve Combs just upgraded his cell phone. Combs, who is president of the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association in Springfield, admits he’s still a bit perplexed by the shiny new device that replaced his old flip phone. But Combs is excited to learn the new technology for one reason: his neighborhood will soon feature walking tours that use cutting-edge smartphones as electronic guides.

Expected to debut sometime this year, the walking tours will use digital square barcodes called “QR codes” that smartphones can scan to bring up photos, audio or video clips, GPS-enabled maps and a variety of other interactive content. In a modern spin on the audiotape tours used in some museums, the tours will focus on historic or significant landmarks in the Enos Park neighborhood, which is located north of Springfield’s downtown. Formerly known as “the Jewel of Springfield” during the late 1800s and early 1900s, the neighborhood is undergoing a revitalization effort to restore its former luster.

“We want Enos Park to be a destination,” Combs says. “We’ve got to get people out there walking around and realizing, ‘Gee, this is pretty neat.’ We have so many houses that can contribute something from a historical or architectural standpoint. Enos Park really has a greater concentration than any other part of the city.”
Combs said he hopes to see other neighborhoods connect similar walking tours to those of Enos Park once implemented.

“We’re trying to get more people involved and attracted to certain areas,” Combs said, emphasizing possible links to the downtown area. Combs said he moved here after he retired because his son, Andy, was accepted to SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. “When I retired, Springfield would not have been on my list of places to retire to,” he says with a sly smile. “I knew nothing about Enos Park, but the more we did research and fixed up our home, the more we realized this is a unique, historical home in a very special neighborhood.”

Several different walks are planned to highlight different features in Enos Park, such as historic homes and churches, city parks, Springfield’s first horse-drawn trolley line, and Abraham Lincoln’s tomb. Students at Robert Morris University in Springfield are creating the content featured on the tours.

One such presentation, created by RMU senior Sydny Morris, focuses on Combs’ own house at 821 N. Fifth St., which was built in 1881 and owned by Guy Mathis, who opened Springfield’s first camera store in 1894. About 1,700 photographs taken by Mathis of Springfield’s people and places are contained in a collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

Combs says the tours are just part of a larger effort to make Enos Park and Springfield as a whole more attractive to tourists, families and businesses.
“Let’s change our image, change our perceptions,” Combs says. “We have to overcome the hurdles of this being a blighted neighborhood. Let’s get it straightened out and restore its image.”

Read the full story at…

Enos Park neighborhood to create high-tech walking tours

The State Journal-Register

Posted Feb 08, 2012

One of Springfield’s oldest neighborhoods is going high-tech with its new walking tours. The Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association is putting together four walks that people will be able to access on the association’s website via smart phone. Smart phone users will be able to view the routes on a map,and call up video podcasts with audio and text about historically significant houses or locations.

Steve Combs, president of the association, said the high-tech approach should appeal to young adults. He hopes the walks will provide an activity for tourists interested in history and highlight the positives of the neighborhood. “When the name Enos Park comes up, we don’t want people to think about drug dealers or prostitutes,” Combs said. “We want them to think about unique, historical old homes and the historically significant residents who lived there in the 1850s to early 1900s.”

University partner

Combs’ group is getting help from Robert Morris University. Students are putting together the podcasts, which could include text about the architectural significance of a house or historical information about who lived at a residence. The students also are including pictures of what the houses looked like in the past and photos of former owners, when available. In some instances, the podcasts will feature houses that have been torn down. Those podcasts will be linked to the addresses where the houses once stood. “All those gorgeous homes we lost — we can bring them back to life,” Combs said.

Robert Morris senior Stephanie Seward of Beardstown is one of the six students working on the project. She said they were given information about the houses, but also have done research of their own.

“The presentations talk about who lived there and what they did. It’s kind of like a mini tour in a video presentation,” said Seward, who’s interested in marketing and human resources.

Walk, relax, visit

All of the walks are less than a mile. One runs between Gehrmann Park, Second Street and Calhoun Avenue, and Enos Park at Seventh and Enterprise streets, and another would connect Edwards Place, 700 N. Fourth St., and the Bretz Home at 1113 N. Fifth St. Both homes are on the National Registry of Historic Sites. The other two walks connect neighborhood parks to nearby hospitals. One would run between Enos Park and St. John’s Hospital, and the other between Gehrmann Park and Memorial Medical Center. Combs hopes the walking tours will be ready by spring or summer, although he’s not sure how many podcasts will be operational by then. It will be possible to add podcasts or expand existing ones later, he said.

Read the full story at…


Monthly Meeting Tuesday, January 10, 5:30pm at the Art Association

The Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association will hold its Membership meeting this Tuesday, January 10th, 5:30 p.m. at the Art Association, 704 North 4th Street. Ericka Holst, Curator of Collections and Historian for Edwards Place, will reveal a scandalous secret…one that erupted in the 1860s, affecting the lives of dozens of Springfield’s most prominent citizens.

Before Edwards Place was Edwards Place it was Houghan’s House, where prominent local physician Thomas Houghan lived with his wife and stepson from 1833-1843. But Thomas Houghan was concealing a previous marriage and abandoned wife. When he sold all his properties, including his home to Benjamin Edwards, his first wife still had rights to 1/3rd of all his possessions. After his death she came to collect!

It is ironic that today, almost 170 years later, as the Enos Park Development LLC is acquiring property as part of its land banking efforts for the Enos Park Master Plan, we are confronted by property with multiple liens and lost owners. We have pointed to Edwards Place as the beacon for Enos Park’s historic past and now we find we are living with the same problems Benjamin Edwards and his family encountered during Springfield’s earliest days.

Come join us to find out how the story ends and how Enos Park is moving forward with its revitalization program.

Following the presentation, Paula Zink, Housing inspector, and Ryan Irwin, Neighborhood Police Office will bring the membership up to date on a major drug bust and efforts to eliminate a number of serious code violations. Refreshments will be served.

Important: We have changed the time and location for this meeting to 5:30 p.m. at the Art Association

Thanks to Our Pie Bakers!

Thanks to our pie bakers!Thirty volunteers put in 320 man hours of time baking 400 pies for Enos Park’s annual Thanksgiving Pie Sale.

The pie sale funds are ear marked for the EPNIA Safety and Security account. Funds from this account have been used to retain an attorney to bring civil action on behalf of the neighborhood against property owners with excessive code violations and police service calls. The Enos Park hotline, 787 ENOS, used to record trends in suspicious activity, is also funded from this account. Information from this source played an important role in solving a series of robberies during the summer in the neighborhood.

Keep those calls coming! They help!

This year’s pie sale was supported by Qik-n-EZ, Tuxhorn Towing, St. John’s Hospital, Massie-Massie Associates, Marine Bank, Starbucks (Freedom Dr.), and CVS (Carpenter & N 2nd).