My solutions to city of Belleville dilemmas usually are ignored.
Well, actually they always are ignored. For example, take my proposal to place a gambling riverboat on Richland Creek.
But still I persist in my efforts, even if no one liked my cheapo idea for filling the infamous hole on East Main Street. I said if everyone in town brought a shovelful of dirt from their yards and dumped it uptown - problem solved.
Anyway, it occurred to me recently that Belleville could easily solve its question of whether to allow chickens.
Since the city will purchase Richland Creek Office Park III at 720 W. Main St., and convert it to a police station, just go ahead and appropriate a few extra thousand bucks for a different addition.
There seems to be a goodly amount of land around the building which will go unused. So why not build a giant chicken coop there and let residents who want chickens buy into a chicken park?
This would solve the objections of neighbors who don't want the smell or noise of chickens nearby, of which there isn't that much anyway. Except the neighbors of the new police station of course. And sometimes the few have to sacrifice for the many.
It would work kind of like the dog park. Pay a fee and you can keep your chickens there. The city would divide up the eggs for those paying customers.
If we hold a contest and solicit proposals for the coop, we could even get a really innovative design which could become a tourist attraction, sort of like the bird cage at the St. Louis Zoo which originally was built for the 1904 World's Fair.
I'm not talking small-time chicken wire and wood on wheels. We need to think big here.
A few soaring arches, some wire and steel, a little concrete, a scattering of tastefully arranged, decorative nesting boxes and it could be a heck of an attraction.
Imagine the publicity. What other city has a municipal chicken coop?
It would be a natural attraction, so to speak. It would be right there off the Richland Park bicycle trail that follows Richland Creek. It would be close to Delilah's Shoe.
The new police station has a great big parking lot. It is right on Main Street. There is great access. It certainly would have great security.
Besides, chickens don't have to be all white. There are dozens of breeds in all sorts of colors. It would be beautiful.
We could have the city employees who take care of the downtown streetscape also take care of the chicken coop. The city would have free manure to use in its parks.
I'm telling you, this idea could soar.
Not as high as an eagle of course, but maybe as high as the average chicken can fly, seven or eight feet.
Have a column idea? Call Wally at 239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email: email@example.com