Belleville residents wishing for a miracle on East Main Street this Christmas probably aren't going to get it.
The ugly, dangerous hole left following a fire in May 2010 is still there, and the City Council voted this week to not put up a more sturdy fence to better protect the Santa Parade goers. Aldermen followed the city attorney's advice to not do anything while a lawsuit over who should pay for the cleanup is pending.
And pending. And pending.
Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said he gets a lot of blame for the hole still being there, but the real problem is a St. Clair County court system that moves at a snail's place.
A judge finally heard the case on Oct. 29. It's pretty straightforward and yet it's almost Thanksgiving and the city is still waiting for the ruling. Good thing the judge in "Miracle on 34th Street" moved faster. If a St. Clair County judge had heard the case about whether Kris Kringle was the real Santa Claus, there would have been no ruling by Christmas Eve.
Belleville's Santa Parade, the Gingerbread Walk and the holiday bustle will go on as planned despite the legal loose ends. But downtown will be a lot less merry and bright with that ugly hole plop in the middle of it.
Maybe Belleville's Christmas wish this year needs to be simply that no one falls into that hole.