ALTON - Alton is proud of its history as a river town, but the ways that we connect with rivers have changed over time. One hundred twenty years ago, people regularly used the riverfront to greet and unload steamboats and barges or to fish. Then, trains traveling on tracks parallel to the river drew Altonians to a beautiful brick train station at the river’s edge.

The depot is gone. Now a fence along the track and traffic on Landmarks Blvd, make it difficult and dangerous to walk to the river from downtown. On January 8, 2023, a pedestrian died after being hit by a car near the Ridge Street intersection. Cities like Davenport, Iowa, have revitalized riverfronts by reducing barriers, adding community activities, and restoring low-lying lands for parks and trails. How will Alton connect to the river going forward?

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What would make the riverfront an attractive place for you and your family? The Alton Riverfront Commission is scheduled to meet at two p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month in the Council Chambers of City Hall. Meetings are open to the public. The agenda and minutes of previous meetings can be found on the city’s website. Type meetings in the search space, then choose Riverfront Commission to access them. Please join me at the next meeting Tuesday, January 24, at two p.m., to learn more about the city’s plans for our riverfront.

Libby Rueter