Message from Mayor Eckert, October 2020
As we come to the close of the year, it’s incredible to think the end of 2020 is upon us. It’s been an unprecedented year, to say the least. The challenges of COVID-19 are not over. The City of Belleville continues to monitor the ongoing financial and staffing challenges we face. Our concern over businesses has not gone away and we appreciate those who have gone the extra mile to protect their employees, and therefore, the residents of our city.
We are all saddened that almost all of our fall and holiday activities had to be cancelled. I know all our organizations have labored over these decisions along with our city staff. Many are actively working to create alternative events, like the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce’s alternative Chili Cook-Off and Virtual Chili Chase.
As you have probably heard, the Downtown Trick-or-Treat event hosted by the City of Belleville has been cancelled. It’s simply not safe to congregate in large crowds like that. However, the Parks & Recreation Department has created an alternative to this – Boo Buckets, delivered directly to your home. Our Veterans Day Ceremony will still be held on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., but those details are still being worked out. It will be a virtual event. Stay tuned as we finalize that and announce those details.
It is with great sadness that the Christkindlmarkt was cancelled this year, along with our annual Santa Parade and Santa on the Square. However, we will offer the Virtual Gingerbread Endurance Challenge in place of the Gingerbread 5K and the annual Gingerbread Contest, which looks just a little different this year. While Santa won’t be able to meet with children before Christmas this year, children can drop off their letters to Santa downtown in a special North Pole mailbox, and we understand he’ll be reading some of those letters live on Facebook. He’s also told us that he’s planning some Santa Sighting events where he’ll be strolling through our Belleville neighborhoods to say ‘hi’ from afar. Please be sure to visit www.belleville.net/725/Holidays-2020 to stay up-to-date as the details of the holiday season are finalized these coming weeks. We’ll of course be decorating downtown as we do each year and ask that our residents possibly add a few decorations to the neighborhoods to help lift our spirits during these difficult times. It’s the 51st year for the Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine. Continue to support them and make this long-standing tradition stronger than ever!
Please remember our Belleville businesses. Shop local first. It’s more important this year than ever before as many of them are seriously struggling. The Saturday following Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, is Shop Small Saturday. Make this one count! Please be safe and continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing. I wish you a happy holiday season and a blessed and safe New Year.