ALTON - After years of construction following the road’s collapse, Riverview Drive has reopened near Riverview Park.
“Riverview Park is one of our iconic places to come to and see a very, very beautiful view of the river,” Alton Mayor David Goins said. “That's great news for the residents in that area as well as the city. It’s going to be safe and people can come back to the park and enjoy it again and drive through.”
Get The Latest News!
Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.
Riverview Drive has houses on one side of the street and a steep drop on the other side. In August 2019, the wall that ran alongside the drop collapsed due to rainfall and natural erosion. No one was injured, but it presented a major safety concern and closed the road for the next several years. You can read one of the original articles about this on RiverBender.com.
Goins, who was elected in 2021, noted that it has been a long process to repair the street and wall. The City of Alton worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to secure funding for repairs. Construction amped up at the end of this summer, and the road has now been open for about a week.
“It is a relief to finally get that done and get that open. I’m sure the residents are very happy, too,” Goins added.
Riverview Drive runs up against Riverview Park, which remained open to the public but had a few restrictions during construction. Michael Haynes, Director of the Alton Parks and Recreation Department, noted that the situation limited what the park could offer.
“You could still access the park, but it definitely made it more challenging, especially for party buses and things like that,” Haynes said. “We get a lot of weddings and wedding parties that go up there, and not being able to circle around really made it impossible for them to get up there. Not only that, it was just a bit of an eyesore.”
Haynes said that the Parks and Recreation Department has turned down many wedding requests because of these complications, so he expects to see an influx of weddings at Riverview Park starting later this fall. The fallen wall has been a source of stress for several years now, and both Goins and Haynes expressed excitement and relief to see the project completed.
They aren’t the only ones who feel that way. The Alton Municipal Band has performed free weekly summer concerts at the park for years, but they were relocated to the Alton Amphitheater this summer due to construction. Their return to Riverview Park next summer will be a return to tradition.
“It’s like a weight off your chest. Like, all right, don’t have to worry about that anymore,” Haynes explained. “It’s nice to get out to the public that the road is open again and the park’s freely accessible. I know it’s a popular spot with a great view of the river. People are welcome to come back and spread their wings there again.”
More like this: