Welcoming, Healthy, and Livable Alton, the Vibrant Hub of Metro North. An Inclusive Community of Purpose. A Next Century City.
Respect for the community and a clean environment, safety, and an appreciation for historic architecture define the city. Alton is a place where people choose to live; where all types of people feel welcome and a sense of belonging. A city where great journeys begin, and the energy of the river conveys a spirit of freedom, health and optimism.
As some communities are simply thinking about how to quell the population decline in small, rural cities, AltonWorks believes Alton can buck that trend. AltonWorks has a five-phase plan to realize the long-term vision of the region.
Phase I – Investment
Our first step in revitalizing downtown Alton was to invest in properties to protect the beautiful architecture and heritage of Alton. Since 2018, AltonWorks has acquired 34 historic properties in downtown to protect them and restore the beautiful architectural heritage of Alton. AltonWorks also owns 24 vacant lots and residential properties adjacent to downtown. Those properties include landmark buildings such as the Old Post Office, the Jacoby, the Grand Theatre, and the Stratford Hotel, among others.
“There are so many people who love the city of Alton like Jayne and I do. We think it’s a great time in our city’s history to gather all types of people together and invest our time, energy and passion in helping this wonderful city reach it potential.” – John Simmons
Phase II – Vision and Master Planning
The Mississippi River is the inspiration for all that we do at AltonWorks. Preserving the health of the river and the region is essential to our vision of being a healthy and vibrant city. A master plan for revitalization was developed along with strategies to inspire the revitalization of Alton and the region.
Phase III, IV and V – Implementation of three distinct districts
We developed concepts for three main districts along the center of town: Jacoby Arts and Innovation District, Grand Entertainment District, and Broadway Makers District. These areas will attract people from around the nation and be connected through Broadway, a vibrant, mixed-use street. We initially planned to focus first on the Grand Entertainment District, and then during the pause of the pandemic, we redirected our efforts to the Jacoby Arts and Innovation District, as we believe innovation is a driver in everything we do.
Currently, plans are underway for renovation of Lucas Row and the Jacoby Building, two beautiful historic buildings across the street from the Wedge Innovation Center. Lucas Row will provide 12 new apartments with modern amenities and great views of the Mississippi. The Jacoby Building will be restored to house the Jacoby Arts Center on the first floor and lower level and large, open, loft-like office space on the second and third levels. AltonWorks began construction on these projects in Fall 2022, adding to the critical mass of revitalized historic buildings in the Jacoby Arts and Innovation District.
AltonWorks opened Flock Food Truck Park & Bar on E. Broadway at Ridge in May of 2022. Theodora Farms, an organic farm owned by John and Jayne Simmons, is the catalyst for the idea to link healthy food farmers and producers with restaurants and families to create a safe, economical, and equitable supply of food for the region.
In August 2022, AltonWorks announced development of the Wedge Innovation Center (the Wedge). The Wedge is being designed as an accelerator, incubator, co-working space, and digital hub focused on social impact innovation and specializing in livability, clean tech, and climate tech to benefit everyday lives.
Phase IV and V plans are in development for the Broadway Makers District and the Grand Entertainment District.
AltonWorks will continue to develop projects and programs as opportunities arise and is actively seeking collaborations with like-minded organizations and companies.