ALTON - Alton’s newest Alderman, John Meehan, discussed his recent appointment to the City Council, his love for the city and its history, and more on a recent episode of Our Daily Show! on Riverbender.com.
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Meehan was appointed as 5th Ward Alderman to serve the remainder of former Alderman Charles Brake’s term after Brake resigned last week. Meehan said that Brake, who he’s known for decades, personally requested his appointment to Mayor David Goins.
“I’ve known Charlie for 30 years, and Charlie was having more and more health troubles,” Meehan said. “He was asking if I would be interested in possibly being an alderman if he had to step down, so that’s the way it kind of came along. He and I talked, and he wrote a letter to the mayor and asked that in the event that he was forced to retire because of health reasons, if the mayor would appoint me, and the mayor said yes.
“Since I’ve known Charles for such a long time, I would call him and we would talk quite often. He was like a personal friend, so I knew he was struggling, and it really didn’t come as too much of a surprise. He really wanted to finish out his term, but you know, that age has a way of catching up to you and there’s no stopping it.”
Meehan said he was grateful that his appointment received unanimous approval from the council, and that all of his fellow aldermen are “great people.”
“All the aldermen had to vote ‘nay’ or ‘yay’ on my appointment, and I received all six votes - which I was very happy about, because they’re all good people,” Meehan said. “All the people that serve as alderpersons here in the City of Alton, they’re all good people. They’re trying to do the best they can for their ward and we’re working together as a group as sitting aldermen, and we work with the mayor for the benefit of the community of Alton, Illinois."
As far as his goals for the ward, Meehan said he’d like to get a comprehensive map from the county detailing the exact boundaries of each ward in the city, then make stops within the ward to greet some of its residents. Meehan added that he’s well-known in the community through his involvement in various projects, but also wants to help residents become more connected with their neighbors.
Meehan said he moved to Alton in 1990 and described the city as a “great place to live” with “rich history.”
“I think the history of this place is really marvelous,” he said. “It’s just a great place to live, so much rich history.”
Early Altonians settled after moving from the South upward, with a special emphasis on the Mississippi River, Meehan said. According to his research, the 1830 census listed the population of Alton at 2,100 people. The population of Chicago was 300 at the time, meaning Alton once had seven times the population of Chicago. However, he acknowledged that not all of Alton’s history is positive.
“Alton has a rich history - some not-so-good history, you can’t deny the reality of that - but so much wonderful history,” he said.
He added that he appreciates the many opportunities the city provides to get involved with the community.
“There are so many opportunities for people within the city limits of Alton to get involved - either as a business, as a person, you can get involved with churches, there are outreach programs, there are special school programs that are sponsored to help kids that struggle in schools, volunteers are needed at the public schools, and there are just so many opportunities to be involved with the community,” he said.
Ward 5 residents can contact Meehan at 618-920-9008 or email@example.com.
The full interview with Meehan can be watched at the top of this story or on Riverbender.com/video.
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