Message from Mayor Eckert, January 2021
Happy New Year 2021! I know so many of us have been eagerly waiting to see the end of 2020 and welcome 2021! To say this past year has been unique is a serious understatement. 2020 has been extremely challenging for cities and towns throughout the country. It has been an emotional roller coaster and a financial nightmare. We all know the problems and losses we faced in 2020, but even with those in mind, the City of Belleville continues making progress on several projects while welcoming new businesses and residents.
As of the top of December, the City of Belleville issued 77 commercial occupancy permits for 2020. Some of the new restaurants you may want to try for the new year include Sugar High, a café and bakery at 100 E. Main St., Joe & Onie’s, a coffee shop and café at 18 E. Main St., and Nettie B’s, a southern style restaurant at 8201 W. Main St. We have also seen continued progress at the Lofts on the Square, a 47-unit senior living facility on Belleville’s Public Square. You have probably seen that progress as you drive by on Rt. 159, passing the fountain. Likewise, the apartments on Rt. 161 next to the Carlyle Ave. YMCA will open soon and will be a great place for our military friends down the road at Scott Air Force Base to call home.
We have also seen progress by our many excellent organizations throughout the city. The Belleville Mural Project installed another mural at 801 W. Main St., adding color and art to the newly finished streetscape from 6-12th streets. Additionally, our very own Memorial Hospital was named as a “High Performing” hospital and Memorial Care Center was named as one of “America’s Best Nursing Homes” by U.S. News & World Report. Memorial Hospital also received the MAGNET designation by the American Nursing Credentialing Center, something only 6 percent of hospitals in the nation have received. I extend my sincere gratitude to our healthcare workers who have been brought front-and-center because of the pandemic. Thank you for what you do. We know you are exhausted, emotionally and physically, but thank you for your selfless service to your community.
This year, the City of Belleville also received a substantial amount of funding through the Rebuild Illinois Grant. A half of a million dollars of that funding will be dedicated to infrastructure improvements and demolitions of derelict properties; $300,000 will be dedicated to the construction of a splash pad at Bicentennial Park; $100,000 will be dedicated to improvements to N. Virginia Ave. We are also very happy to be the recipient of $150,000 in Local CURE’s Act funding for the Belleville COVID-19 Business Recovery Grant Program. These funds will go to locally owned small businesses affected by the pandemic.
I want to take this moment to thank each and every resident who has been making a concerted effort to shop and support locally. Our local businesses are the cornerstone of our city and they have suffered more this year than ever before. So, to those of you who understand the importance of supporting local shops and restaurants, thank you! The money you spend in Belleville stays in Belleville to help fund essential services like fire and police protection. Your locally spent dollars also support your family members, neighbors, and friends who own and operate our local businesses. I know they appreciate your support whether it’s in the form of dining outside, purchasing a gift certificate, or shopping online. Please don’t let this support falter as we move into the new year; the economic challenges facing our small businesses won’t be over with the turn of a calendar page. Please, continue to support them!