BELLEVILLE,IL - Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn urged Belleville Main Street to focus on energy efficiency during the kick-off of the initial phase of a planned streetscape for Main Street and commend the community for their recent innovative efforts to revitalize their downtown district.
“It’s important to keep in mind the benefits of incorporating energy efficient methods into the overall streetscape plans,” said Quinn, also advocating the greater use of renewable energy. “In addition to widened streets and improved sidewalks for the longest Main Street in Illinois, I encourage Belleville to adopt energy efficient LED lighting – which is durable, longer lasting and energy efficient – for both streetlamps and traffic lights alike.”
“There are simple methods for reducing energy costs through efficiency,” said Quinn, explaining that cities have the potential to save utility bills up to 25 percent by converting high wattage light sources, such as incandescent bulbs, with LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs. Quinn added that in an outdoor environment, a streetlamp with an LED bulb can last up to 50,000 hours compared with an incandescent bulb that can last around 5,000 hours.
Quinn, along with city officials, previewed the initial plans and ideas of H3 Studio, an architectural design and planning firm in St. Louis, for the East Main Street streetscape that is expected to begin in the new year after three additional development phases. Residents of Belleville are welcome to view the streetscape plans and offer suggestions at a public meeting to be held in the evening at Governor French Academy at 319 West Main Street.
He was joined at the ceremony by Belleville Mayor Mark Kern, Belleville Main Street Program Manager Maureen Woodrum, and John Hoal, Professor of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis and founder of H3 Studio.
The residents of Belleville have seen remarkable improvements to their historic downtown thanks to Main Street initiatives such as the recently restored Lincoln Theatre. The Main Street program played an integral role in the $1 million structural rehabilitation of the theatre, which was once regarded as the premier theatre in Southern Illinois. The Lincoln Theatre, opened in 1921 as a vaudeville house that hosted stars such as Ginger Rogers and the Marx Brothers, now draws crowds for first-run movies and live performances.
"Main Street is ideal for a community such as Belleville," Quinn said, noting Belleville’s rich history and cultural heritage. "Main Street helps communities appreciate the treasures in their midst, and fosters a spirit of volunteerism, a sense of place and a new civic pride."
“George Blair, the founder of Belleville, would be proud of Belleville’s recent accomplishments,” said Quinn. He will congratulate Belleville Main Street for the “Come Home to Belleville” brochure and “Main Street Impression” newsletter, both of which were finalists for the 2003 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Downtown Revitalization.
At 9.2 miles, Belleville is home to the longest Main Street in Illinois. Belleville Main Street has hosted events such as the Art on the Square fine arts fair in May, the Sheldon Concert Series during the summer months and the famous Gingerbread Walk in December. The program recently raised approximately $35,000 in a Main Street silent and live action fundraiser.
The Lt. Governor Office administers the Illinois Main Street Program which is based on a national model that offers communities help with downtown improvements, historic preservation and economic development. Over the past decade, the Main Street program has grown from nine towns to include 57 communities across Illinois. Quinn said he hopes to visit all Illinois Main Street communities during the next 12 months.