Archived Articles and Images January 2022

Our Community Shines Bright from our Elected Leadership to the Caring Generosity of our Private Citizens.

Granite City’s Mayor Mike Parkinson and the Village of Pontoon Beach Mayor Mike Pagano working in tandem for the betterment of our neighboring towns sets a great example for us all. Their forward thinking and open mindedness allow for greater opportunities of growth not only for entrepreneurship, but for local families to invest and plan roots in our community.

Granite City and the Village of Pontoon Beach have much to be proud of. Just a few examples out of many, we would like to mention starting with Twigs. Launched in 2011, Twigs is a summer lunch program and school-year pack-a-sack program in multiple communities in Illinois. Their vision is “A child, a neighborhood, a community, a world, without hunger.” Just this past Saturday they held a Christmas Festival that provided (free) Horse Drawn Carriage rides, live music and a visit from Santa.

Alfresco Production’s founder Brenda Whitaker recently provided a (free admission) Christmas Concert, three performances featuring local talent and the famous Bonnie and Bekka Bramlett, for all to enjoy at the beautiful Alfresco Art Center for performing and visual art. The concerts are just a small part of the many benefits that Brenda Whitaker has brought to our community though out the years.

Local resident of the village of Pontoon Beach Daniel Solomon recently announced Christmas pictures can be taken in his sleigh with Santa now through Christmas. Located at 40 Mallard Lake in Pontoon Beach where all are welcomed to stop by after sunset. This offer is free of charge and out of kindness wanting to spread Christmas cheer.

It is the contributions to our community from all walks of life that make Granite City and the Village of Pontoon Beach a special place to call home.

Granite City’s Ward 4 Alderman

Brad Eavenson talks about the progression and growth in all areas of Granite City.

We are often asked why the downtown area seems to be the only focus of development in the city. While it may appear that way, I want to explain to people that we are currently engaged in making changes throughout the city.

Downtown:  The improvements to the downtown area including the building of a new theater were intended to do two things.
1.) Development in that area slowed the further deterioration that was heading north toward the park. There are several nice neighborhoods and many nice homes in the areas from 20th street to 27th street. The downtown improvements serve as a “firewall” to border those areas on the south.

2.) We are focused on developing small businesses including restaurants, shops, etc.… in that area. We know it will never be the shopping area of the sixties and seventy’s but it can be an area of interest for people to visit. The former NUMC Church will be converted to a new entertainment venue by late summer 2021. Concerts in the park during the summer as well as our open- air markets on weekends are all designed to put feet on the street to support those businesses. If you made it to the downtown area during Christmas week, you witnessed crowds at the theater and a busy new business called Tinsel Town.

Nameoki Road Corridor:
The three shopping centers on this route offer the best potential for businesses that will benefit Granite City residents. Clearly the loss of a major player like Shop N Save hurt that area. The K-Mart property has been sold and will be under construction soon. We do have the newer Cotton’s Ace Hardware in the Crossroads Center as well as the new Tegan’s Pub. Cathy Hamilton, the city economic developer, is working with the owners of these centers to make improvements and possibly restructure leases.  A new “Smoothies” store officially opened their doors today in the Nameoki Commons. We still see this as a very important part of the city commercial development.
Route 3
Recently businesses including the Weber Auto group have committed to expanding their businesses on Route 3. The loss of Lowe’s was a huge hit to our local economy but we were at least able to secure a buyer for the property keeping it on the tax rolls. The Port Authority is about to make a major investment to their property which will bring new jobs to the area during construction. One of the focusses of this corridor is at the intersection of 270 and Rte. 3. This administration is working on attracting gas/convenience service centers and possible hotels for that area. Major developers are always looking for incentives for projects of that nature so that will be a consideration.

Housing Stock:
One of the most important focusses of the new administration has been the upgrade to our housing stock. Mayor Parkinson and staff have already torn down over twenty derelict properties that were beyond saving. There are at least another twenty to thirty on the list for demolition.
The “One House at a Time” project has started with the sale of our first improved property that sold for $5,000 more than asking price. The newly remodeled home is now a great asset to the neighborhood and to property values.

Christmas Spirit Filled the Air at City Hall on Wednesday.

What would normally be a quiet afternoon in our city hall, turned into anything but, Wednesday afternoon when Amy Miller took the lead and brought in her guitar and caroling friends. Holiday cheer was in great supply as happy voices filled the building with Christmas songs. A great time was had by all as visitors and employees joined in on the fun. Ashley and Bryan Buchholz and family, Tammie Beal, Kim Pierson, Amy McElroy along with Julie and Craig Knight were all in attendance.

Our Shop With A Cop 2021 Event.

A special thank you to our local heroes of the Granite City Police DepartmentPontoon Beach Police Department, Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis Police Department and families for participating in the annual Shop With a Cop.

How the story of Rudolph the Red- Nosed Reindeer was born.

As the holiday season of 1938 came to Chicago, Bob May wasn’t feeling much comfort or joy. A 34-year-old ad writer for Montgomery Ward, May was exhausted and nearly broke. His wife, Evelyn, was bedridden, on the losing end of a two-year battle with cancer. This left Bob to look after their four-year old-daughter, Barbara. Continue reading.