As Mayor-Elect, I am not walking into this position with all the answers, but I pledge to work every single day for the residents of the Alton Community, and I will do so with honesty, transparency, and respect when engaging our public. I will have an open-door policy and I encourage citizens and employees to reach out to me should they experience personal or work-related issues.
I am excited about Alton’s future and I truly believe brighter days are ahead. I have had excellent meetings with our new and returning Alderwomen and Aldermen, and we have pledged to make Alton a better place where families, businesses, and schools can thrive in a safe environment. I am also currently meeting with key staff personnel and will not make many changes. Further, I am engaging with community and organizational leaders in discussions around how we may maximize our collective strengths.
During the mayoral campaign, I met with and listened to citizens across Alton and have developed my vision around their input, including the initiatives below of which I am planning to introduce to the City Council on May 12, 2021.
- Getting our city’s financial records, audit, and reporting procedures in order.
- Encouraging our citizens to get vaccinated.
- Improving public safety and community relations.
- Improving infrastructure repairs to streets and sidewalks.
- Collaborating with businesses, investors, state and federal legislators to bring funding for infrastructure and jobs.
- Developing a quality affordable housing product.
- Ensuring diversity throughout the Alton workforce.
- Addressing Alton Amphitheater accessibility for Alton residents.
- Implementing a citywide cleanup and beautification initiative.
10. Launching “Invest in Our Youth” through the Alton Park and Recreation (renovate restrooms at Killion Park, enhance Alton Youth Teen Center, grow the Haskell House Museum initiative, and add summer work program opportunities).
11. Commissioning a beautification and cultural task force to develop strategies to better utilize amenities on the Mississippi and around our historic city, creating a synergy that results in increased tourism and revenue.
12. Developing a marketing partnership between the city, our public and private schools.
13. Developing a positive working relationship with Alton Labor and Trades.
I truly believe that if we focus on these initiatives with measurable milestones, we will achieve success and Alton’s population will increase. While these initiatives will be the centerpiece of my administration, there are some goals that will be more of a priority. My first 60 days will include continuing to work with the Madison County Health Department to get vaccine shots into the arms of our citizens in order to fully reopen Alton businesses, schools, and churches in a substantial manner and to return to normal family life.
On May 12, I will recommend hiring a full time Certified Public Accountant to work closely with the City’s Treasurer to fix current problems with the city’s audit, financial records and reporting procedures.
We will begin a proactive approach to changing Alton’s perception of being unsafe. Shortly, I will establish a task force consisting of Alton stakeholders and SIUE Representatives to assist in developing proactive strategies for improving Alton’s perception of being unsafe.
We are fortunate to have a respected and trusted leader in Chief Marco Pulido guiding our Alton Police Department. He is highly regarded by our citizens, including the African American Community. Repairs to streets and sidewalks, including a citywide cleanup will be a priority for my administration.
I will momentarily begin meeting with our local state representatives and the SIUE staff to identify state and federal funding opportunities aimed at encouraging jobs and economic development. And finally, I will be sitting down with our local laborers and trades to begin developing a professional working relationship.
As we begin looking outwardly over the first 100 days, my administration will begin focusing on our historic downtown Alton, including strategies and activation projects such as a regional innovation hub with e-connectivity and digital inclusion. The goal is to make downtown Alton a vibrant sense of place, a regional hub in our Metro North, a preferred relocation destination in Downstate Illinois for young families, retirees, displaced workers, and entrepreneurs.
Alton possesses great natural resources such as our Riverfront and Great Rivers that can create a welcoming and authentic destination for active living and outdoor recreation.
We have the assets: hiking, biking, paddling, and other recreational opportunities to strengthen our status as an outdoor recreation destination. We cannot simply market what we have; we need to build and enrich the destination we want.
I am encouraging all stakeholders to rally a spirit of community stewardship that lifts and beautifies our historic Alton, its downtown, and neighborhoods that will anchor Alton and our Metro North region.