ALTON - A new flagpole was positioned Thursday morning in the center of a memorial brick fund-raising campaign area within James H. Killion at Salu Park.
Alton Mayor Brant Walker said this is just a part of the various improvements at James H. Killion at Salu Park in recent years, along with the updated basketball courts and sidewalks.
"With all the events here at the park it is only appropriate that we have a flag pole and flag for the National Anthem," Walker added. Mayor Walker highly praised the James H. Killion Beautification Enhancement Committee for their work and energy in park improvements.
The mayor appointed Alderwoman Tammy Smith, Steve Thomas Abe Barham, Monica Semnacher, Sheila Goins and Cass Shepard to the James H. Killion Park at Salu Beautification Enhancement Committee for their continued efforts in trying to help improve the quality of life for the residents that live around here and those who visit the park.
James H. Killion was the first black person hired by Laclede Steel in Alton. He worked there until his retirement in 1983, after 38 years. He was a union leader, and was the first black person elected to office within that union, which he helped to create. He was also a member of the D-Day forces, and was a reservist during the Korean Conflict.
In Alton, Killion was responsible for the city's annexation of the Oakwood area. He was a leader in the United Way, a baseball coach, on the advisory board of the former St. Joseph Hospital and a referee for junior high basketball.
“I would like to thank Bobby Barnhart, Public Works Director, and his staff for their outstanding work on the park," Tammy Smith said. "Also, would like to thank Mayor Brant Walker for his support and for the Alton City Council for voting to approve the grants to be able to make these improvements.”
Smith said the engraved bricks around the flag pole will be placed around the flag pole.
Three metal benches have been donated by “A Precious Organization” and has donated to the city. One will be placed here and the other two will be placed in Rock Springs Park. The Junior ROTC of Alton’s next project will target the pavilion and repair the restroom.
"We want people to take pride in this park and enjoy it with their families and friends," Alderman Smith said. "I believe people will enjoy the flag pole, bricks and park improvements during special events.”