Across the country, cities are renewing their focus on historic downtowns – reimaging them as great places to work, play, live and shop – and Alton’s turn-of-the-century riverfront streetscape and renewal is a perfect local example.
An area once emblematic of inner-city divestment, Downtown Alton is experiencing an urban renaissance a decade in the making. The downtown is back, and back with a vengeance, thanks in part to Small Business Revolution — Main Street, a 2018 Hulu program.
This public focus, combined with significant private investments (John and Jayne Simmons alone are committing $75 million to building development and renovation), have helped put Alton back on the map.
Small Business Revolution — Main Street hosts Amanda Brinkman and Ty Pennington had this to say about Alton: "I've been to a lot of towns across America, and Alton was one of those gems... Look at the history, look at how connected it is to the Mississippi.""There's this pendulum swing. You see millennials with young families wanting to move to these communities where you know your neighbors, when you go to the business down the street, and you know the proprietor."
3:30 pm Tour Begins, Jacoby Arts Center, 627 E. Broadway
The approximately 2-hour walking tour will start at Jacoby Arts Center and travel west along Broadway, viewing and touring the following renovated buildings and those still under construction:
| Jacoby Arts Center|| || Hotel Stratford|
| OSF Saint Anthony's Hospital|| || Grand Theatre|
| Wedge Bank || || Post Commons|
| LuciAnna's Pastries|| || YMCA Building|
| Crown Vision Center|| ||Frew's Bridal|
| Steve's Antiques|| || Riverbender.com|
| 1904 General Store / Brown Bag Bistro|| || Former Underground |
| Mineral Springs Mall|| || Solera Wines|
| Cracker Factory Great Rivers Lodging|| || Firehouse Bar|
| Mississippi Landing Lofts|| || Former Winters Heating and Cooling|
| Former Telegraph|| || Masonic Temple|
| My Just Desserts|| || Simmons Hanly Conroy|
Developers and community leaders will showcase their own successes and identify opportunities for additional development in the neighborhood, including the planned improvements made possible through John and Jayne Simmons’ investment in the area.
A complimentary shuttle will take participants back to the Jacoby Arts Center at the end of the tour.
6:00 pm Post-tour Reception, Rooftop at Simmons Hanly Conroy, 1 Court Street
Space is limited.