Of convenience and necessity

December 19, 2013 

Belleville made the right decision this week when the City Council gave new life to a vacant convenience store on Douglas Avenue.

Three aldermen didn't want the store reopened, but a business that will generate tax revenue for the city is preferable to the boarded up, vacant eyesore that has sat there for years. Douglas Avenue is one of the city's main thoroughfares and this building is at a high visibility location near the Scheel Street MetroLink station. A functioning business should improve the appearance of the neighborhood.

Alderwoman Melinda Hult said the building could be converted into a single-flamily residence. It could be, but it is unlikely that would happen. If someone were going to convert the building into a home, it would have happened by now. The obvious, logical use is what this structure was built to be: a convenience store.

Ken Kinsella, one of the ward's aldermen, objected because of the poor conditions he observed at a convenience store in Cahokia owned by the person making this request. Give Kinsella credit for taking the time to research the issue. His observations put the owner on notice that he had better make sure the Belleville store is kept up to par. If problems do crop up, we'd expect Belleville's code enforcement officers to quickly address them.

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