Belleville welcomes Spring! As warmer weather approaches, the city comes alive with the colors of the season. Once again, budding trees and flowers will greet our shoppers and diners along our downtown streetscape. Our beautiful parks and many bike trails welcome walkers, runners, and cyclists of all ages. Many of Belleville's greatest events are just ahead, including our 16th Annual Art on the Square that will take place on May 19th, 20th, and 21st. Art on the Square ranked #1 in the Nation for the 2016 Art Show! 2016 was our sixth 1st place achievement. This event shows Belleville at its best. The volunteer spirit is unbelievable in our city!
This first quarter has been extremely busy. The 52nd Annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast was held on February 15, 2017. Colonel Laura Lenderman provided a wonderful message about Belleville's 100 year relationship with our neighbors and friends at Scott Air Force Base. This day was bittersweet, due to the fact that it was the last event at Fischer's Restaurant. We thank the Fischer family for over 80 years of service to our city.
The 67th Annual Belle-Scott Enlisted Dinner was another great success in 2017. Our community sponsored 90 enlisted men and women from all branches of service to be our guest for an evening of recognition and remembrance. The stories shared about past veterans is always a special part of the evening. This year, four outstanding individuals shared their memories with over 300 military and civilian participants. Among those honered and who shared their stories were: Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Getz, a veteran of the Korean War, Sgt. Claude Cable, also a Korean War veteran, Sgt. Bill DeMestri, a World War II veteran, and Lt. Lou Eisenbrandt, an Army nurse in the Vietnam War. I extend my sincere appreciation to all military veterans and to all men and women who currently serve our country.
We will return to our renovated City Hall at 101 South Illinois Street this summer after the completion of many overdue improvements. These renovations include asbestos abatement, ADA required building and parking lot improvements, safety updates, and an expanded and improved City Hall Council Chambers.
Many road improvements will occur this summer and fall, including upgrades to East "A" Street and Oak Street to North Illinois Street. Sewer separation work will begin on West Main Street from 6th Street to 17th Street with streetscape improvements scheduled in 2018.
Excitement continues on the West End of Belleville with improvements underway at the Ace Hardware complex located at 6938 West Main Street and with the opening of Main Street Brewing Co. 4204's Brewing Distribution and Banquet Facility, located at 6435 West Main Street. They will host this year's 5th Annual Belleville Ale Fest on April 22nd.
I hope you will join us for many events and festivals this Spring, including the Law Day Run, Old Town Market, Memorial Day Parade, Shrine Circus Parade, and the 5th Annual Brew 'n Que Challenge as well as many others included in this newsletter. I hope you enjoy all that Belleville has to offer this Spring!