Fur is beginning to fly between a city alderwoman and opponents of a potential ban on dogs at both Hellrung and James H. Killion parks.
4th Ward alderwoman Alice Martin initiated a resolution to ban dogs from the parks, which passed Wednesday. The city will now draw up and vote on an ordinance to amend the city’s park rules. Martin says an abundance of dogs at Hellrung Park, specifically pit bulls, caused her some concern following complaints from Alton residents.
Jackie Spiker of the Hope Rescues animal shelter in Godfrey says the ban unfairly profiles dogs.
“I don’t feel there is a need for another ordinance to ban all dogs in Alton,” Spiker says. “There are already ordinances and laws in place to prevent what Alderwoman Martin is concerned about.”
Spiker says animal tags and loitering laws should be enforced rather than an outright ban on all dogs at the parks.
“This will also cost the city money,” Spiker said. “Animal control will have to work seven days a week, because you know the problems with loitering are going to occur on the weekends.
“Sixty-seven percent of Alton residents own a dog. Keeping their pets from the parks is not fair to the responsible dog owners.”
High speed rail controversy
The city is making it known it does not want St. Clair County to install its own high-speed rail system in East St. Louis.
If the Riverbridge District High Speed Rail Station were to open in East St. Louis, stops for the Amtrak trains traveling between Chicago and St. Louis would be shared with the currently developing Alton Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center to be built at the site of the former Robert P. Wadlow Municipal Golf Course.
Last Wednesday, the Alton City Council passed a resolution opposing the proposed East St. Louis rail station, which would in part be funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The resolution details the reasoning behind the opposition, including the fact the East St. Louis station would be only about 2.5 miles from St. Louis’ station, affect time and service reliability, and remove the ability for the service to utilize the Merchants Bridge, reducing flexibility and efficiency.
Alton says with the additional station, the $25 million to be spent on Alton’s station would be 50 percent utilized, something not fair to taxpayers.
Fore your consideration
A 10-year contract agreement with STO LLC regarding the operation of the Spencer T. Olin Golf Course is up in the air as Brian Lawson of Cloverleaf Golf Course in Alton has asked the city to use “due diligence” and consider other offers.
STO LLC has committed to making $640,000 in improvements to the course over a six-year term.
Lawson, who says his family has been in golf management for over 80 years, said his company could commit to provide the city $70,000 each year throughout the contract in addition to around $100,000 each year to spend on capital improvements for the course, as well as grant the city a 100-acre space of land the company owns.
The city will readdress the issue later this month, following a meeting between a city committee and Lawson.
Belle Street between Third and Fourth streets downtown will be closed from 6 a.m. May 3 until 6 a.m. May 4 for Mac’s Time Out Lounge’s Kentucky Derby.
The city has approved a resolution providing a $25,000 tax increment financing grant for building improvements at Jacoby Arts Center.