Letter To The Editor:

ALTON - Like many of my fellow Altonians, I was shocked to read on March 12, 2024, that there were plans to build a $7 million homeless shelter in the 500 block of Alby Street. While including money from several sources, this proposal reportedly also includes over $1 million toward construction costs to be paid by the City of Alton. Such a large, unauthorized commitment of taxpayer funds by the current administration without transparency begs several questions.

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

How long has this plan been in development? Why has there been no public discussion, public hearing, or open debate? Were any of the aldermen or alderwomen aware of this plan when it was being developed? Did anyone contact residents and businesses in the area seeking their input? Will there be a public hearing on the zoning before the Planning Commission or will the City move forward without answering any of these questions?

The political sleight of hand with little public knowledge would likely have been approved as the County Board meeting on March 20, 2024, had word not gotten out. The vote has now been postponed until April 2, 2024. Concerned citizens should attend the County Board meeting to ask all the relevant questions and raise any objections they have to a project with so many unknowns and a commitment of such a significant amount of taxpayer dollars.

Article continues after sponsor message

While we are sympathetic to individuals who face economic hardship beyond their control and those who face the challenges of mental illness and substance, nowhere is it written that Alton should be a host city for more homeless. With our limited resources, we should be working to address our immediate homeless issues, not promoting solutions that would exacerbate that problem and further strain city resources and services.

This proposal raises legitimate questions concerning public safety and sanitation that would affect the neighborhood, including residents, businesses, churches, and students and faculty at nearby Marquette Catholic High School.

A plan this impactful to any neighborhood demands much greater scrutiny and opportunity for public input. This proposal, no matter how well-intended, does little to help Alton as a whole, especially given the current administration's lack of transparency surrounding it. The City Council must act to allow our residents to be heard before the proposed development proceeds any further.

Brant Walker of Alton

Opinions expressed in this section are solely those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of RiverBender.com or its affiliates. We provide a platform for community voices, but the responsibility for opinions rests with their authors.

More like this:

Mar 26, 2024 - Alton Homeless Shelter Indefinitely On Hold, New Location Sought

Apr 15, 2024 - Letter To The Editor: Balancing Compassion and Prudence: An Alderman’s Perspective on the Proposed Salvation Army Shelter

Mar 20, 2024 - Salvation Army Homeless Shelter To Be Discussed: Alderwoman Allen Invites Residents To Attend Monthly Ward 1 Meeting

Apr 3, 2024 - Madison County Grants Committee Hears Support for New Hope House

Apr 22, 2024 - Letter To The Editor: A View About Alton's Recent New Hope Center Presentation At Salvation Army