The relationship between Drury and its neighbors entered a new era - and reached new levels of trust - with an agreement both groups approved and filed with the city in 2001. In a bold step, the agreement gives Drury's neighbors veto power over new buildings in an area viewed as most sensitive to institutional expansion.
The Midtown Neighborhood Association's concern about the fate of older homes has flared several times in recent years as Drury has developed several construction projects. With growth at nearby Ozarks Technical Community College, the Springfield school district, Springfield and Greene County government complexes and Cox North Hospital, some saw the historic neighborhood caught in the grip of a closing vise.
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Instead of bullying through the discussion, Vice President for Administration Rusty Worley '92 BA '94 MBA opted to listen and develop a plan both sides could support. The agreement defines an area generally north of the campus and says any new Drury developments in that residential area must be approved by the Midtown association. That plan got its first test when Drury proposed the new Summit Park student housing at the corner of Calhoun and Summit streets; the proposal passed.
Drury also filed a 10-year plan with the city, specifying that when Drury grows it will move south and east of the campus, into areas already zoned for commercial, industrial or institutional use.
By giving Midtowners a voice in the neighborhood's future, Drury helped show how taking a chance on trust can open the way to renewed friendship.