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Guest view: New energy and focus for Belleville

A sincere thanks to all the well wishers who have contacted me about winning the aldermanic race in Belleville Ward 8.

This is not a one-man show but a concerted effort by not only the residents of Ward 8 but, most important, by the residents of the entire city. They are the eyes and ears of this town.

Don’t forget, the employees of this city – the mayor’s office, police and fire as well as the aldermen – do not work for City Hall. They work for the residents. It is imperative that we keep an open ear and respond in a timely manner to people’s requests and problems.

I ask people to be aware of what is going on in their neighborhood and watch out for their neighbors. If there are housing problems, report them. If there are rental properties that are not being maintained, report them. We must ensure that all landlords are versed in the crime-free program and are aware of this ordinance. People who see illicit or questionable activities should report them immediately.

A city is only as strong as its people and neighborhoods. It is very important that we strengthen the core values of our neighborhoods.

There is a delicate balance between economic development and reinvesting in the infrastructure of Belleville. We are an old city with an aging housing stock. Our streets and alleys are in disrepair.

Besides public safety, a reoccurring cry from the people I talk to is: “When are they going to fix my street?” We continue to give money to major corporations and developers. That is an investment in our future. But investing in our infrastructure is an investment in our lifestyle. They go hand in hand.

Belleville means “Beautiful City.” We have a beautiful volunteer spirit, a beautiful open-mindedness and a beautiful acceptance of our neighbors. But the physical appearance is tired and worn out.

On May 4 the newly elected aldermen will take their place on the City Council. I urge residents to show their support by being present that night. There is a new energy and mentality. There is a new focus. Stay tuned.