Photo by Diane Cox
Lynyrd Skynyrd was among the national bands to perform at the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater in 2015.
Looking ahead to another season of headlining acts, the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater is gearing up for music and food events in 2016, and sponsorships are available for businesses and donors interested in getting in on the action.
In the last two years, the amphitheater has moved away from tribute bands and private events and focused more on courting national acts, making the venue a destination for residents and visitors alike and bringing more money into the city.
Last season, the Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dwight Yoakam and Alison Krauss and Union Station concerts were successful, with VIP tickets selling out each time, and last fall’s food truck festival exceeded expectations, with trucks running out of food and the guest overflow filling local restaurants.
The commission is communicating with several headlining acts as possibilities for the 2016 season.
Sponsorship levels begin at $1,000 and increase in levels and amenities. For more information on sponsorships, call (618) 463-3500, ext. 3, (618) 616-8476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other news from Alton over the past week:
City’s pension pothole
The actuarial firm of AON Hewitt presented a valuation report to the City Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting this month, confirming the pension funds are in trouble despite increased payments. The report examined the period from April 1 of last year to March 31.
Alton’s police and fire pension funds have fallen short for the last several years, and a court order forced the city to increase payouts to the pension fund, but the increase is not enough. Updated mortality rates are among the factors contributing to the issue, as people are living longer and mortality rates are adjusted accordingly on a regular basis.
Alderman Jim Ryan expressed frustration over the situation.
“We have this conversation every couple of years, but there is never any resolution,” Ryan said. “We just seem to keep spinning our wheels.”
The firm recommended the city contribute $2,863,334 for the police fund and $2,915,512 to the firefighters fund. Currently, the funds show 59 active and 78 inactive police pension participants (137 total) and 45 active and 86 inactive firefighter pension participants (131 total).
Mayor Brant Walker said both departments already are feeling the effects of budget cuts.
“We have made some harsh decisions and every department has been cut trying to make these payments,” Walker said.
The situation is representative of what many municipalities are struggling with throughout the state.
Street closures will take place from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, March 12, to facilitate St. Patrick’s Day events. Areas affected will be State Street between Wall and Broadway, West Third Street between State and Piasa, and Belle Street between Third and Fourth streets.
Street closures will take place from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, March 19, to facilitate the annual Alton Half Marathon and 5K run and walk. Areas affected will be the eastbound lanes of Illinois 143 (River Heritage Parkway) from the Clark Bridge to Alton Lock and Dam Way, and the northbound lanes of the Clark Bridge to the Missouri state line.
Mail mystery solved
Following letters sent to residents of Alby Street and Lindenwood Boulevard informing them of possible lost mail, the U.S. Postal Service confirmed a substitute carrier dumped one day’s worth of mail (Jan. 23) instead of delivering, much less than the up to 90 days of mail originally in question.
The carrier resigned her position when the details of the incident were investigated by the Office of Inspector General.
The carrier dumped mail into a trash receptacle and in a local field. The discarded mail in the field was discovered by a resident, who alerted the post office. Approximately 100 addresses were affected.
SSP receives grant from Ameren
Just days after Senior Services Plus announced major cuts because of lack of payment from the state, particularly affecting Meals on Wheels, Ameren Illinois donated $10,000 from funds reserved for charity.
SSP Executive Director Jonathan Becker said although it will help tremendously, the state owes the agency approximately $1.5 million, deeply hurting food and transportation services for needy seniors throughout the Riverbend and limiting Meals on Wheels deliveries to frozen meals once per week.