In response to Pete Hill’s recent letters to the editor concerning Shopland Center, let’s get the record straight.
He suggested this deal was a payback to Mayor Eckert’s so-called political cronies. The truth is the owner of Ace Hardware approached the city requesting financial assistance.
The owner of Ace Hardware is purchasing that property. He is expanding his business, staying in West Belleville, and bringing back to life a strip center which is on prime real estate and producing little revenue for the city. The business district adds 1 percent to the sales tax, which is $1 on a $100 purchase. Market Place Center at 6401 W. Main St. is already coming back to life because of incentives. Eventually the Arcades at 6500 W. Main St. will be redeveloped. Also, the owner of Ace Hardware has a store in O’Fallon.
Of course, this strip center is in the 8th Ward. Because I am the alderman in the 8th, I am very concerned about economic development and filling empty store fronts. The former Peoples Bank at 6400 West Main is now The Menta Academy for autistic children. The drive-up facility next to Market Place Center will soon be a dialysis center. We have a Panera and Burger King coming to West Belleville. Rob Nora Apartments are vacant, and we are no longer issuing occupancy permits at another apartment building on West Main. As a former resident of West Belleville, I would think you would be elated this end of town is coming back to life. Three years from now you won’t recognize West Main from Signal Hill to the Beltline.
Also, he criticized my building for lack of maintenance. I would be happy to give him a personal tour of my store so he can see it is beautifully maintained. He should stop by at his convenience so we can have a proper introduction.
Alderman 8th Ward Roger Wigginton, Belleville