Alton residents Monica Mason and Ann Bromaghim have hotel reservations when it comes to Alton’s plans to build a hotel, restaurant, and convention center along the riverfront.
“My concern centers on three issues — size, location, and timing,” Mason said.
Both women addressed the City Council during Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting and voiced concerns over the placement of the hotel, including flood plain liability and traffic to what they see as a somewhat isolated business. Bromaghim said the hotel could take away from the esthetic draw of the riverfront and could increase trash in the area.
Alderman Jim Ryan said he feels Mason is portraying the city in a negative light.
“This has been in the works for 20 years,” Ryan said. “We feel more positive about this and more positive about our community.”
Alton Mayor Brant Walker says the city looked at other options and felt this was the best avenue. Other locations would involve acquiring property from up to eight or more owners, he says, increasing the chances of being bogged down in negotiations and stalls. He also emphasized the new entity would be operated by an independent company, not the city.
A public meeting, allowing the opportunity to educate the public on the plans and to hear feedback from the community, could take place in the near future.
The City Council was anticipated to approve a Memorandum of Understanding with JB Real Estate Development at a cost of $50,000 from the city’s TIF No. 1 Project Fund during its meeting Wednesday. Services will include preliminary architectural design of the project, preparing a food and beverage cost share agreement, redevelopment agreement, and security of hotel financing and a franchise agreement.
The city has passed a new law banning dogs from Hellrung Park and James H. Killion Park. Reasoning behind the new law, initiated by 4th Ward Alderwoman Alice Martin, stems from concerns over safety for parkgoers.
Jackie Spiker of the Hope Rescues animal shelter in Godfrey disagrees with the new law, saying it unfairly profiles dogs when animal tags and loitering laws should be enforced rather than creating a new law.
“There are already ordinances and laws in place to prevent what Alderwoman Martin is concerned about,” Spiker says.
The city is planning to use funds from a recently awarded federal Scenic Byway and Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant to redevelop Riverview Park. CTA will be providing architectural engineering and landscape architectural services in preparation for the renovations, with the city’s Motor Fuel Tax revenues paying for a portion of the services.
Redevelopment plans could include repairs on walls on restroom facilities, solar bollard lights, removal of asphalt trails, and installation of concrete walks, irrigation systems, signage, and wrought iron fencing.