The economic doldrums has gripped the local economy for about five years, since the Wall Street crash in late 2008. Locally, Alton went through some hard times, but things appear to be stabilizing. While employment and budget issues are a constant reminder that there is room to grow, the city's treasurer shared some statistics that appear to show things are leveling off.
A large portion of the city's economy was based on gaming revenues through the 1990's and early 2000's. In 2008, a "perfect storm" of sorts hit, with the opening of the competing Lumiere Casino, implementation of the smoking ban, and the financial meltdown. Cindy Roth (pictured) says the various steps taken since Alton Mayor Tom Hoechst took office just months after the economy crashed has helped the city weather that storm.
Hoechst has said numerous times that the city has been operating at or near the bare minimum for the past couple of years. Roth says the constant belt-tightening has made a difference to where there is light at the end of the tunnel.