This photo, taken prior to the new Starbucks building being constructed, shows part of the proposed new business district near the intersection of Route 3 and Buckmaster Lane in Alton.ALTON - Alton may be getting a new business district after a proposal was approved by the City Council on Wednesday. The new “Route 3 and Buckmaster Business District” is intended to attract business growth to the area, which has reportedly seen high vacancy and a decline in visitors in recent years. A public hearing on the proposed district is set for later this fall.

The new district would be bordered by Homer M. Adams Parkway to the north, Buckmaster Lane to the west, Oakwood Avenue to the south, and to the eastern edge of the property currently occupied by Big Lots and Goodwill.

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The number of “deteriorated” sites within the area has made it “an economic liability to the community,” according to the ordinance proposing the new business district.

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“Additionally, consumer visitation to the proposed Business District declined dramatically in recent years due to excessive vacancy resulting in an economic underutilization of the area,” the ordinance states.

“The purpose of the [Business District] Plan and the designation of the Business District is to eradicate the blighting conditions that exist and to assure opportunities for encouraging private investment and attracting sound and stable business and commercial growth to the Business District.”

A development project known as “Alton Circle Plaza” is set to anchor the area, according to a resolution calling for the ordinance to be considered.

“The Alton City Council supports the development plans for Alton Circle Plaza to substantially enhance the economic viability of the shopping center and the businesses located in the vicinity thereof.”

A public hearing will be held on the proposed business district on Wednesday, Sept. 13 sometime before the City Council meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at Alton City Hall, located at 101 E. 3rd St. in Alton.

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