Every time we walk past the corner of East Main and Jackson streets in Belleville, we get a sinking feeling thanks to "The Hole."
After firefighters on May 26, 2010, won their battle to keep a fire from consuming the entire block, city leaders were faced with the burned husks of two buildings and damage to a third. Worry about the brick walls tumbling onto the sidewalks and streets led city leaders to declare an emergency and had two of the buildings immediately razed.
We're now 31 months, two Art on the Squares and three Christmas seasons down the line, and despite a judge's recent ruling no remedy seems near for the city's very public and very embarrassing eyesore.
We bus in folks to see the gingerbread creations and ride a trolley past holiday decorations and the $6 million streetscape. What happens when they stroll down the 200 block of East Main?
"Oh, look, Martha! A big pit with orange plastic fence, blue barrels and bright yellow barricades. My, but that is festive!"
We hoped St. Clair County Circuit Judge Vince Lopinot's long-awaited ruling would clear the way to clean up The Hole, but again we're disappointed.
He ruled the city had the right to demolish the hazard. The city claims that means the owners must foot the unpaid demolition bill and pay for asbestos abatement. The owners are not cooperating and plan to appeal.
We just wish an equitable solution was at hand that served the greater good. The Hole is still a safety hazard and a major blight on our community.
Allowing more years to pass as justice grinds on is just not acceptable.