January 2022 Archived Articles

Granite City’s Ward 5 Alderman Randall LeMaster recaps highlights of the January 18th Council Meeting.

1) A bid was accepted for some landscaping downtown.
2) The city bought the building at 1310-16 Niedringhaus. Binions is currently located in one of the buildings. They were wanted as a remaining tenant but have decided to move to another location. I am not aware of where they plan to go.
3) An agreement was made with a design builder for the project in the old Niedringhaus Methodist Church.
4) Two unsafe addresses were added to the demo list. One on Roosevelt and one on State.
5) Sue Nonn was appointed as a citizen advisor for animal control. She is doing this a volunteer. Thanks to Sue for stepping up. We were informed that animal control has been an issue and Sue will be a great advocate for the animals.

Upcoming events and new businesses
Don’t forget that the new Smoothie King is now up and running. I have yet to visit but plan on doing so this week. Last two times I drove by, there were lines in the drive thru.
Manhattan Coffee and Social House is now open. I don’t partake in coffee or adult beverages but walked out with some Fitz’s sodas and some yummy bread. It has a nice atmosphere and I plan on taking some friends and family there to hang out. It is located a few spots down from Imo’s.

There is an upcoming Mardi Gras parade/event planned for February 26th. The parade begins at 1pm and will end at Civic Park downtown for a block party and a pub crawl. Buses will take people to about 12 different bars all over town. This seems like it could be a great event for the city.

Tinseltown (old Lascelles bldg) will be doing a Valentines pop up for 4 days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Reservations will probably go fast for this. Check their page for more info.

The GC cinema is putting on a free showing of the original Willy Wonka movie on January 23rd. Some additional tickets were released online yesterday, but I’m guessing they went fast. Kudos to Marc the manager for making the cinema more than just a place to see new movies. Check their website for movies, plus anything out of the ordinary he has planned.
“There is lots to do in Granite City, even in the “off months” of winter! Continue reading…

Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement Mr. Stratton.

The kids and adults alike will miss your daily presence at school, and your positive impact will be everlasting.

Granite City Progressing Forward One House At A Time

Ward 4 Alderman Brad Eavenson reports the progress of removing old and abandoned properties in the city. “Thank you Mr. Rick Daily and the city inspection department. Two more 4th Ward properties are now on the ground or will be by the end of the week. A long-abandoned house on Glen Place is gone and dumpsters are being delivered to one on Elm.

Taking down derelict buildings is one of the continuing goals of this administration. These properties become targets of vandalism, illegal entry and safety concerns for neighbors.”

After decades of public service and dedication, the Granite City community has to say its final goodbye to Judy Whitaker.

Judy passed away Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

Judy served as City Clerk from 1994 to her retirement in 2021. Ms. Whitaker has a long history of accomplishments in addition to serving as City Clerk.

Before being elected as the City Clerk, Judy was elected and served as an alderwoman in Granite City’s Sixth Ward. She also served on numerous council committees through the years. Judy also brought Santa’s Cabin back to the city and established the city’s own Santa’s Holiday Avenue Parade that ushered Santa Claus to his cabin year after year, a beloved Christmas holiday tradition. Judy Whitaker was one of a kind and her impact on Granite City will never be forgotten.

Mayor Parkinson welcomes Joe Schuler as the new Ward 3 Alderman. Congratulations!

Just when you think nobody is listening, they are. Throughout the years our discussion board has sparked debate, opened discussions that would have never otherwise taken place. The best part of the GraniteCityGossip Discussion Board was when it bridged the gap between our citizens and our elected officials, and local parents to our school board and teachers.

October 28,2021 one of our website viewers emailed a letter to be entered into the “Viewer Submitted Articles” page of the website. The news spread quickly about the subject matter of the letter and in a very short time the letter had been read hundreds of times. The title of the letter is “The Forgotten Seniors of Nameoki Township”. Apparently, the letter got the attention of those in charge at the township and we are proud to say this story has a happy ending, that we are hoping is only the beginning of better days ahead for the seniors of Nameoki Township. Beginning in the new year On January 17-2022, Nameoki Township will begin hosting Coffee-Donuts-Cards and Games the first and third Mondays of each month!

So, if you have something to say, if you’re feeling unheard and have a point to make or an issue that needs addressed, you always have a couple options on GraniteCityGossip.com. You can join our Discussion Board and sign up with a user name of your choice, while remaining anonymous or you can email your own article to the Viewer Submitted Articles page. Trust us when we say, whether or not it’s admitted, most of the area’s elected officials, first responders, and school district staff frequent the website and are reading.

Edited Addition
Nameoki Township announced today what the residents of the Township can look forward to in 2022. These include new additional senior programs that will begin as early as Jan 17th. In addition to the Coffee-Doughnuts- Cards & Games for seniors they will also be offering new transportation services for seniors, and meal programs designed to help those in need. To read the announcement letter in full, click here.

Second Update On This Story
We are pleased to share that Nameoki Township has also announced a Senior Movie Day for Nameoki Township Seniors at the Granite City Cinema.
January 25th, 12:00 pm
Pick up your voucher for a (FREE) Movie and Popcorn at the Nameoki Township Building.
4250 Highway 162 Granite City, Il 62040 (618) 931-5688

Granite City’s Ward 4 Alderman

Brad Eavenson

Recaps the Tuesday, January 4th, 2022, Council Meeting.

Last night the city council approved a recommendation by the Public Works committee to purchase several pieces of industrial equipment that will allow our PWD (Public Works Department) employees to self-perform work and ultimately save the city thousands of dollars a year.

The purchase price is refunded through the use of the equipment toward qualifying projects. The purchase included a new excavator, complete with several attachments for various work and a flat-bed tractor trailer to haul the equipment around the city.

The potential projects include the demolition of derelict buildings that are currently contracted out, better maintaining of retention ponds and the grinding of large tree trunks.
The city has the employees who are qualified and talented enough to use and maintain this equipment.

Special thanks to Mr. Greg Koberna and Mr. Rick Daily for seeking out and obtaining pricing on the equipment as well as Mrs. Paula Hubbard who was able to find reimbursable funding sources to pay for the equipment. It is estimated that we will fully be paid back for the equipment in a year to a year and a half.

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.

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