St. Louis Public Radio News
4:32 pm
Thu March 13, 2003

Alton City Hall on List of Endangered Buildings

Atlon, Ill. – The Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois has named the Alton City Hall as one of the state's 10 most endangered historic places.

The 75-year-old structure is in need of repair, and the city of Alton is considering whether to renovate it or tear it down and build a new facility.

The building is considered to be a good example of the Classical Revival style of architecture. But preservation council president David Bahlman says beyond that, Alton City Hall is culturally important.

"It has architectural merit, certainly, and it also has great value to the community, having been the city hall since 1928," Bahlman said. "It's one the things that's defined the community since 1928; it would be a shame at this point just to demolish it."

The city of Alton has set aside $3 million to either demolish or renovate the building; but city officials say that's not enough money to move forward with any plans that become finalized.

Bahlman adds a recent independent study shows a rehab would cost less than a new building. "There are communities in Illinois that would do anything to have a building of this quality as a kind of anchor for the community, and to not fight to save it seems very short-sighted."

Bahlman says designating the building as one of the state's most endangered historic places in no way protects it, but adds he hopes it will create more awareness of the effort to save it.