Members of a diverse list of groups interested in improving the quality of life in the Alton area are meeting on Tuesday, January 14th to discuss progress of an initiative named “Greater Alton United”. The meeting will take place at 6:00 p.m., at Wellspring Resources, located at 2615 Edwards Street. Residents who have resolved to get more involved in community betterment in 2014 are welcomed, and any organizations or churches who are organizing projects for the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service are especially encouraged to attend and share details.

For over a year, the quarterly discussions have revolved around promoting positive activities that community groups are currently engaged in, while exploring opportunities for organizations to partner and share resources in order to be most effective. The format of Tuesday’s meeting will be a roundtable discussion to identify ways that the public can make positive changes in the following areas: Youth & Education, Environment & Sustainability, Health & Social Services, Beautification, Economic & Community Development, and Policies & Ordinances/Community Oriented Policing.

The group invites public participation as it maps out a strategy to accomplish goals such as beautifying the greater Alton area, supporting the local economy, strengthening families, improving health, reducing crime and drug use, and so forth. Citizens will find countless ways to engage in the grassroots movement and connect with the cause of their choice.

Greater Alton United evolved from the “Weed and Seed Strategy” of which Alton was a part until federal funding ran out for the program. Participants learned the advantages of communicating with local police and other local agencies to “weed” out crime and blight. The Greater Alton United group plans to continue such activities and turn more attention toward the “seeding” activities, which empower residents and educate them on how to get involved in improving life in their community through creating jobs, eliminating sub-standard housing and stabilizing families.

The group has formulated a mission statement: "To improve the greater Alton area through the creation of healthy, safe, drug-free communities by weeding out crime, general disorder and sub-standard housing, and seeding these areas through social and economic revitalization."

Meetings are open to the public, to be added to the e-mail list in order to receive reminders and updates on progress please send an email to: sara@altonmainstreet.org.

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