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On the surface, this certainly has been a challenging week for the area. A tragic shooting. Fires. Layoffs. Our hearts go out to our neighbors who are struggling.
News of layoffs always hits hard, and it is my hope the people affected are called back to work in short order. I don’t feel it is indicative of a downturn for the area, however. A growing community is in a constant state of flux and change, and we are a growing community.
One only has to look around the city of Alton to see proof. Rather than businesses closing and leaving vacant, decaying buildings behind (a trend we unfortunately are seeing all too often across the country), exciting new tenants are moving in, such as the Old Bakery Beer Company in the old Colonial Bakery building and the Main Street Brewing Company, opening next month in the old Amarillo Tex’s location.
Amarillo Tex’s had barely moved out when word came that a new restaurant was opening in its place. That says something about the area. Alton Mayor Brant Walker often says “if a community isn’t growing, it is dying.” I think it is encouraging to see local residents continue to support their home turf.
People driving down East Broadway also will see renovations under way on the 600 block. DanMar Enterprises Inc. is in the midst of transforming an old set of buildings into a new and exciting retail spot for the area.
Even more than just the dollars and cents of local business, my job gives me the opportunity to meet people in the community who are often fighting a more urgent battle — one for their lives. When fundraisers and charity events are organized by friends and family to help with medical bills or the care of children, I see over and again how our community comes together, setting aside their own struggles and hardships to reach out … many times to a person they have never even met.
In adversity there is always an opportunity for unity and compassion, and I see that happening here every day. It makes me proud to be a resident of Greater Alton.
Let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.