Letters to the Editor

August 12, 2014

Ongoing streetscape frustrates resident

Have you ventured to downtown East St. Louis lately and witnessed the ongoing street scape improvements that have been going on for over two years now. Collinsville Avenue has a big chunk cut out with no warning signs to assist motorists. The metal pillars at the corners are designed to protect what, from who? This project was supported by the MidAmerica Medical District. They have also not done anything with their approved plan to date. Why haven't they solicited for a developer to start the process of redeveloping the district? The MAMD has numerous powers and could be the catalyst for new development in that area that already has the educational center and the mental health facility. How about an urgent care center and developing the old hospital into senior supportive housing. The city has issued an RFQ for developers for the Union Bank building, old Broadview Hotel (SIU building) and several vacant parcels of city owned land for housing. However what incentives can be offered other than TIF and possibly Enterprise Zone sale tax breaks? Real estate tax abatement is possible if these developments are not in a TIF district. Also the aging infrastructure is another concern especially for housing development as we discovered with the troubled housing project on 33rd Street. I hope the city has done their due diligence on the infrastructure for these proposed projects and have a plan to repair or replace to support these new projects. For those of you who don't know the city is the primary owner of streets, alley, sewers and sidewalks that are not on private property. I also hope there is a plan to improve the public street lighting to support public safety.

Percy Harris

East St. Louis

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