You can’t blame taxpayers for wanting a return on their investment. In fact, you expect them to insist on it and city leaders to take heed.
Still, there seems to be a lot of concern about the Illinois 15 corridor. That concern over the progress of two developers should be weighed against some solid bricks and mortar.
There is a cult of concern in Belleville over the Hofbräuhaus. Some of that is real, and some political.
Belleville taxpayers invested more than $2 million for sewers to the site. Then for more than a year they heard a string of empty promises from the developers about the opening date.
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Health concerns, financing and other issues seem to have resolved and finally there is visible progress on Illinois 15 across from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Don’t hold your breath, but there might be a glass of Christmas ale in your future after visiting the Way of Lights.
Concern No. 2 was the $502,000 investment in sewers for Parkway West Estates, an upscale residential and commercial development on Frank Scott Parkway near Illinois 15. Developer Todd Keller said it’s still coming, and Mayor Mark Eckert again finds himself putting on his optimist’s smile about its chances.
Cardinal Buick GMC decided to enter this market by taking over the old Wagner complex on Illinois 15. Arguably the brightest sign of the highway corridor’s commercial health is Walmart deciding to put its second Belleville store there.
Even if you don’t trust the developers to deliver, it is hard to deny the potential of the two properties and the growth pattern along the highway. The city’s infrastructure investments seem likely to bring a return, with the main questions being “who” and “when.”