EAST ALTON — After years of planning, communication and hard work, the Emerald Ridge subdivision is officially open for business in the village of East Alton.
Mayor Fred Bright’s long-term plan for better housing in East Alton came to fruition with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday at the Keasler Complex with a row of brand-new homes as a backdrop.
“We have had more than 78 homes built in the village of East Alton with Mayor Bright’s long-term plan,” East Alton Village Treasurer Joe Silkwood said. “That’s a big deal. Since Fred became mayor, the city instituted new building codes and these codes had an immediate impact on the housing stock and created opportunities for developments like this to take place. We’ve been able to develop and improve neighborhoods all over this village.”
Emerald Ridge consists of 46 colorful single-family homes. Thirty-four of the homes are single-story and 12 are 2-story. The two-, three- and four-bedroom homes are designed to meet or exceed an Energy Star rating of 3.0 to insure building quality and insulation.
“Look at these homes; don’t they look nice?” Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan said. “This is a way that private and public partnerships have worked together with Rise Community Development, East Alton, Madison County and SWIDA joining to come up with these beautiful homes. This took a vision to make changes in East Alton — we need to thank Mayor Bright for what he’s done to bring us to this point today.”
Funding for the project is provided through tax credit grants that will keep Emerald Ridge a rental property for 15 years. Afterward, the homes can be sold to individual owners.
The land Emerald Ridge rests on was developed in the early 1940s as worker housing for employees at the Olin munitions plant during World War II. The barracks-style housing was built to provide temporary homes that could fit as many people into as small an area as possible.
“The whole deal is, the houses speak for themselves,” Bright said. “I need to thank Greg Kuehnal; he is the former Wood River township supervisor. He and I met several times and we discussed some of the problems and he helped us by getting a community development grant as well as us getting a community development grant for what was known as the Blair school project. With the township and East Alton, we demolished the old Blair school building and built 12 new homes that range from $100,000 to $100,000-plus. A lot of people said ‘Mayor, you’ll never sell a house in East Alton for $100,000.’ Every one of those homes was sold before building was completed..”
McCormack-Baron is the management group for the new development. Anyone interested in rental information or filling out an application for residency in the new Emerald Ridge subdivision can contact Tammie Townsend at (618) 225-7151 or Tammie.Townsend@McCormackBaron.com. Applicants must be at least age 18.