In 2010, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the East St. Louis Housing Authority touted their plan to clean up an old gas station site at 1434 Missouri Ave., near the Orr-Weathers housing complex.
"... The Illinois EPA and Housing Authority will have a site that can benefit the citizens through job creation, improved redevelopment opportunities and protection of the health and well-being of the residents," IEPA director Doug Scott stated in a press release.
The new planned use of the site: greenspace.
Here's the rest of the story: The press release noted $397,000 in funds for the clean-up project but the IEPA said the final bill was almost $650,000 -- $442,786 in federal stimulus money, and $200,000 for preliminary work from a federal brownfield grant.
The space is now green, but the use for it is the Housing Authority's new electronic marquee, which is enclosed by a fence. Housing Authority Director Elizabeth Tolliver said motorists almost immediately began cutting across the lot, hence the fence.
The marquee cost $37,000 and the fence, $23,000, she said. That's in addition to the clean-up costs.
With projects like this, it's no wonder the stimulus accomplished so little. We guess cleaning up the site protects the public's well-being, although the price tag reminds us of the $600 toilet seats the Pentagon once bought. Job creation? Only for a select few who got the short-term contracts to do the work. Improved redevelopment opportunities? Can't see any.