Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Eight Mayors, Others Brainstorm Historians, Tourism Officials to Help Promote Communication, Economic Growth

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Eight Mayors, Others Brainstorm Historians, Tourism Officials to Help Promote Communication, Economic Growth

Article excerpt

Civic leaders from a dozen communities have decided there is strength in numbers.

In a first-of-its-kind meeting, eight area mayors came together, along with historians and regional tourism officials from Collinsville, Edwardsville, Hartford and West Alton, to discuss ways to encourage economic development and improve communication among the towns.

The mayors attending the meeting were Don Sandidge of Alton, William Oertel of Brighton, Lon Smith of Wood River, Mike Campion of Godfrey, Steve Bryant of Bethalto, Fred Bright of East Alton, Kay Spencer of Roxana and Bobbie Amburg of Grafton. The group met for more than two hours in a private room at the Midtown Restaurant. Speakers handed out illustrations and offered details of projects in their towns that they said would benefit residents as well as visitors. Doug Arnold, president of the Greater Alton/Twin Rivers Convention and Visitors Bureau in Alton, emceed the event, which he said was only the beginning. "I see this as a start," Arnold said in his closing remarks. "I encourage everyone to meet quarterly. (Receiving) federal and state (development) grants in the future will require us to work together on a regular basis. We are going to have a much stronger voice now." Many attendees discussed ongoing projects in their communities that would draw tourists and benefit their tax base. Alton Township Supervisor Don Huber outlined his plans for a 10-foot wooden kiosk at the Williams Street site of the Confederate Prison that would include interpretive information, flag poles, landscaping and signs leading visitors to other attractions in the city. The idea of the proposed pavilion and a series of distinctive signs noting other points of interest, Huber explained, is to give visitors the history lessons they seek while directing them on an exploration through the area. "We need some kind of universal signage that can be easily identified with this area," Huber said. "It should be something consistent that is acceptable to everyone. …

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