The bloody fingerprints on the outside of a Belle Manor apartment are from an alleged knife fight on the outside of one of the three apartments condemned today.

The back door of one of the apartments would not lock and had been kicked to the point were it wasn't functional.

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Steps had been taken out and a baby's car seat was being used to bridge a few of the steps. The entire apartment complex was redone slightly more than a year ago.

ALTON - On a scorching hot Tuesday afternoon, the Alton mayor, the police chief, officers, a committee precinct man and a couple hired to assist the owners in repairing the situation was on hand to assess what the mayor called some “deplorable living conditions.”

The mayor said the apartment complex, located at 3200 Belle St. in Alton, is owned by Herman & Kittle Properties Inc.

Recently the property manager quit and the owners have hired Lisa and Chris Strevels to troubleshoot the area and come up with solutions to the problems.

Walker said both dumpsters were full when he first arrived on the scene at the complex and he asked Robert Sanders Waste to come and remove the mounds of outside trash.

“The trash was five-foot high in the dumpsters,” he said. “I feel horrible people have to live here. It is a great big eyesore and not a way people should live. I am committed to a clean, safe city.”

Walker said the city would remain steadfast with the cleanup of the apartments and also added that changes are coming.

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Abe “Lee” Barham, a precinct committee member for the area, and community activist contacted Alton Mayor Brant Walker’s office about a trash problem in the complex and terrible overall conditions.

He has also been hired by a committee to perform evictions in the complex and he reported he has done 23 so far. There are 58 apartments in the complex, he said. Three apartments were shut down Tuesday, Mayor Walker said.

Alton Police Chief Jake Simmons was on site and said over the last 12 months, there have been 283 calls to police from the complex. Recently, there was a knife fight and a domestic violence situation at Belle Manor, police said.

Three vacant apartments were condemned today by the city with door notices and the conditions in those were as the mayor said deplorable, with broken doors, blinds, a torn up stairway, even blood on the front door. The mayor said these apartments were completely renovated and new tenants moved in just a little more than a year ago. He said he couldn’t believe living conditions could deteriorate like they have so quickly.

Lisa Strevels said she and her husband are committed to cleaning the place and starting with once again, a new beginning with Belle Manor.

“There will be all new management and employees here,” she said. “The mayor is working with us to step up police patrol. We would like this to be a gated complex. Many of the people causing problems come in after hours. A neighborhood watch has also been formed. We have a great rapport with the city and the police chief and we plan to turn this around.”

Barham said he has been working for 25 years to try to save the place. He wants to see a new manager and also desires to see more police presence. Strevels she is going to suggest the police department is paid to increase on-site presence and she also feels strongly about it being gated.

“Police can’t just ride but will have to be able to walk in here and it needs to be safe for them,” Barham said. "The police do have to know they are safe when they come in, though."

A mirror in an apartment condemned was cracked.

These blinds were completely destroyed in an empty apartment.

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