Wednesday, September 22, 1999

Alton Telegraph

Location: Alton, Illinois

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - September 22, 1999, Alton, Illinois SammyVSosa SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 THE TELEGRAPH MAI) in NEAD A I', I Mark Met:wire homers After 151 games 61 homers After 151 games Today s Food Stack am up Sandwich builds from level fields Page Bl The outlook Mostly sunny and cool ; high near 70, low near 48 Page DIO Fine and Quinn Funeral home providing personal touch Page DI Vol. 164, No. 250 - 50 cents Wednesday, September 22, 1999 www.thetelegraph.com Bridge of future New span to connect St. Louis-St. Clair County By DEBORAH L. BATES Telegraph staff writer ST. LOUIS - St. Clair County Board Chairman John Baricevic and St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon announced Tuesday that they have reached an agreement on a new Mississippi River bridge. The bridge will connect St. Clair County with St. Louis. “St. Louis is our downtown,” Baricevic said “It’s important, and we need to build a bridge.” The $550 million, eight-lane bridge could be in place as early as 2010. Planning for the bridge has been delayed for a few months because Harmon was concerned about the aesthetic value of the bridge and the effects on traffic in St. Louis. “We agreed to agree,” Harmon said. Both sides agree that a bridge is necessary, but the city does not want the bridge to create a boundary between north St. Louis and downtown. The height of the bridge is being lowered to accommodate the concerns of the city of St. Louis. The final design of the bridge has not been decided, but St. Louis and St. Clair County have agreed it should be a “world-class” design. An advisory council of residents, businesses, downtown planners and officials will be created to work with designers. “Illinois reached an agreement months ago,” Baricevic said. “The final piece was how it impacts downtown.” Harmon said the bridge will be “something spectacular." It will be between the Eads Bridge and the McKinley Bridge. On the Illinois side, eastbound traffic will cross onto Illinois Route 3, then travel to Illinois 203 near Gateway International Speedway and will finally connect to the existing Interstate 70. On the St. Louis side, the bridge will enter St. Louis about IO blocks north of America’s Center. Traffic will exit the bridge at Tucker Boulevard near Cass Avenue H See BRIDGE. Page A11 The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES James Easterly, district engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation, right, answers questions Tuesday during a news conference at St. Louis City Hall to announce progress toward a new bridge across the Mississippi River. St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon, left, looks on. The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN A large crane lifts one of the Alton Belle Casino’s entrance gangplanks out of place Tuesday as work was under way for the expansion of the gambling boat. At one point workers had to cut away some sections of steel so the gangplank could be lifted. Belle renovations get a lift By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — A tall, imposing crane on the city’s waterfront Tuesday heralded big changes to come in the next two months for the Alton Belle Casino. The crane lifted up the Belle’s easternmost entry “bridge,” or gangplank, which provides access to the ticketing and “VIP offices.” The crane will be used to move the bridge about IOO yards downstream, where it will be sandblasted and repainted to coordinate with the Belle’s new $12 million facility, said Bill Albert, director of operations for the riverboat casino. “For the next six to eight weeks, the preparations we are doing will be fast and furious.” he said. “Ifs going to happen pretty quickly.” Next on the list for removal is a barge that was connected to the moved bridge, and then later, the other, larger bridge, he said. Next week, crews will begin dredging the area under the former bridge and barge areas to remove underwater soil to make room for the larger barge, Albert said. A metal “sheet tie wall,” similar to a sea wall, also will be installed in the area. “The new one is so big, we have got to pull it closer to shore,” he said about the new landing facility. Argosy Gaming Co. plans to add the renovated 60,000-square-foot “Spirit of America” barge, reminiscent of craft seen on the Mississippi River in the early 1900s. The boat will feature 90-foot-tall twin smokestacks. Patrons will enter the new facility through a 17,000-square-foot “fun barge” that will resemble a riverfront warehouse. The landing facility will offer a variety of dining options, including a nautically themed, 220-seat buffet restaurant, a 120-seat table service restaurant and 50-seat bar. The “fun barge” will have a combination showroom and party room that will be used for concerts and banquets. That facility is being constructed on the Mississippi River at Mike’s Marina in Wood River. “All this construction has been going on downriver, out of sight; now there is something people can see here,” Albert said. SM Wilson of Granite City is renovating the “Spirit of America” barge. Once site preparations are completed, the “Spirit of America” and fun barge will be slipped into place within one day’s time at their respective places on the riverfront. Plans call for the project to be completed by November. Board to hire firm to search for Beaber’s replacement By ANGELA MUELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON - The Alton School Board took the first step Tuesday night toward finding a replacement for Superintendent Michael Beaber, who will retire at the end of the 1999-2000 school year. The board has decided to employ the services of a search firm to assist in solicit ing applications from qualified superintendent candidates. “To start the process, we had to decide if we wanted to do the search ourselves,” said David Lauschke, school board president. “I don’t think we’re capable of doing it ourselves. We want to make sure it is opened to any and all qualified candidates.” The board plans to meet with two search firms during the first week of October. Lauschke said the board will consider firms from Chicago, mid-state Illinois and Missouri, as well as search services offered by the Illinois Association of School Boards. The board hopes to make a final selection of a search firm by late October. After selecting a firm, the board will develop a package of information, which will outline benefits the district is able to offer to the superintendent candidates. The board plans to begin collecting applications by November and begin interviewing candidates in January. “Hopefully, we’ll have someone selected by February or March,” Lauschke said. Beaber’s retirement will be effective June 30,    2000. Beaber, 60, is in his sixth year By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — Residents of public housing complexes will see some major renovations in the near future, including new bathrooms and doors and exterior updates. The improvements will be funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “It’s great news for Alton Housing Authority,” said Stan Henderson, executive director of the Housing Authority. “It’s the seventh consecutive year we have been funded.” The agency is slated to receive $880,276. Previous grants have averaged around $800,000, he said. This week, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, and U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, announced HUD’s fiscal year 1999 Comprehensive Grant Program, of which $64.8 million will go to 50 Illinois housing authorities. Other are recipients are the Madison County Housing Authority, which operates Sullivan Homes and Curran ■ See HOUSING, Page A11 as superintendent. He previously served as assistant superintendent, director of personnel and principal after a teaching career. He started his career in the Alton School District as a junior high teacher in 1962. Lauschke said the number of school administrators taking advantage of early retire- ■ See BOARD, Page A11 Area/Illinois........A3-9 Bulletin Board........A6 Classifieds...........CS Comics.............D8 Editorial.............A4 Horoscope..........D8 Nation&world A10,12 Obituaries...........A5 Greer, Forrester, Hill, Johnson, Logsdon, Pershall, Sepo, Silkwood, Troutt Scoreboard..........C2 Stocks..............D2 Television...........D9 Housing projects to get updates ,276 in federal grants on the way