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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.


The Wedge Innovation Center

Photo: Carmen Troesser


View down E. Broadway from Henry

Photo: Carmen Troesser

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Flock at Park Park

Photo: Carmen Troesser


The City of Alton and the region at large have many assets for which we should all be proud.

As a collar community to St. Louis, Alton is well-positioned regionally as an affordable alternative to urban congestion with cost-of-living advantages, essential services, and livability amenities unavailable in more remote locations in downstate Illinois. Alton also enjoys safe access to thousands of acres of public lands, miles of hiking and cycling trails, mountain bike gravity trails, paddling opportunities on the Mississippi River National Water Trail, rock climbing at Illinois’ largest state park, and is the Gateway to the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. This stretch of the river also boasts the highest number of registered recreational boats and rental slips on the upper Mississippi River.

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Aerial view of downtown Alton


The first step in reimagining a new downtown Alton was to acquire historic properties to protect them and the beautiful architectural heritage of Alton. We have invested in dozens of properties including landmark buildings such as the Old Post Office, the Jacoby, the Grand Theatre, and the Stratford Hotel, among others.

Next, we developed concepts for three main districts along the center of town: Jacoby Arts and Innovation District, Grand Entertainment District, and Broadway Makers District. Each district will be distinctive and exemplify the local flavor and culture that is unique to Alton. These areas will attract people from around the nation and be connected through Broadway, a vibrant, mixed-use street.


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The phase three projects occur within two city blocks, at the heart of Jacoby’s Arts and Innovation District. Vibrant, imaginative and real are words that describe the Jacoby Arts and Innovation District. The area will feature open art studios, lofts, galleries, murals, street art and festivals for young and old alike. Buildings will be redesigned to optimize technology and enhance character.

Innovation. It drives everything we do these days, from medical cures and environmental protections to culture and the arts. At the very heart of the district is the Wedge Innovation Center and a funded effort to bring enterprise grade fiber connectivity to Alton, an undertaking already in progress. When taken together with key community livability features, proximity to St. Louis, and an anticipated package of relocation incentives, Alton will be positioned to attract and retain innovators of various industries, including the arts and sciences.

Jacoby Arts District. Photo: Carmen Troesser


PARK PARK Ridge Street

THE JACOBY 627 E. Broadway


ELFGEN BUILDING 600–604 E. Broadway

LUCAS ROW 601–611 E. Broadway

RUBENSTEINS 724–730 E. Broadway



327 RIDGE 327 Ridge Street

RON’S AUTO BODY 833 E. Broadway


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Alton has a rich history of innovation and tradition, of resolution and grace. A diverse, inclusive and thriving economy needs all kinds of entrepreneurs – from programmers to painters. The Broadway Makers District will be centered on those who are working to realize their dreams. Innovation comes in many forms. Whether it be words, codes, steel, stone, medical devices, life-saving cures, ceramic, wood, cotton or gold, the relentless pursuit of beauty and progress will be created and attract lookers and buyers who yearn to be part of meaningful experiences.

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Old Bakery Beer Co. Photo: Carmen Troesser

CIAO BELLA 443 E. Broadway

ALTON TIRE 435 E. Broadway

KAREN’S CRAFTS 417 E. Broadway



THE TELEGRAPH 13–15 E. Broadway

THE PEIPERT HOUSE 300 Alton Street

VEST MEDICAL 4411 Alby Street

STEVE’S ANTIQUES 323 E. Broadway


HANSEN MEAT BUILDING 450 Landmarks Boulevard

HEADSTART BUILDING 550 Landmarks Boulevard


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The focal point of the Grand Entertainment District will be the energy and excitement of the nightlife, live entertainment, imaginative culinary experiences, special events and festivals throughout the year.

Stratford Hotel. Photo: Carmen Troesser

GRAND THEATRE 230 Market Street

STRATFORD HOTEL 221–229 Market Street

YMCA BUILDING 2 W. 3rd Street

401 MARKET BUILDING 401 Market Street

427 MARKET 427 Market Street


PIASA BUILDING 205 E. Broadway


An important part of our vision is to develop downtown Alton into a City of Rooftops. A great and unique feature of Alton is the city is terraced so each building has a unique view of the river. And although there are rooftops all over the world and all over this country, none has our landscape. “Green Getaways” have become increasingly popular tourist destinations for nature-based travelers and the active living crowds. Utilizing the stepped rooftops as high-functioning green spaces is good for Alton, the environment, and overall tourism.

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Artist impression of a rooftop venue

The Alton Riverfront is a rare natural asset at the core of our community. This treasure has the potential to become an outdoor recreation destination, a wonderful place for residents to enjoy, an attraction for visitors from around the country, and an economic driver, providing stability for generations to come.

A reimagined riverfront could connect historic downtown Alton to our iconic Mississippi River in a way that promotes active living, job creation, and lower greenhouse gases, and spurs investment into the region, while also adapting to the realities of nature. These aspirational ideas embrace the best of the Great Streets Program and demonstrate how transformational and inclusive big dreams could be for the entire community.

At AltonWorks, we believe the Alton Riverfront could create major economic growth if utilized as a natural outdoor attraction, rather than one that houses big businesses in big buildings that block the views and are surrounded by acres and acres of concrete parking.

Over the next few years, the City of Alton and its residents will have an important decision to make about its long-term use and how it intersects with the future of downtown Alton.

The vision for the riverfront is an aspirational idea, like the Wedge Innovation Center and other AltonWorks projects designed to change the trajectory of Alton and position the city as a community that can attract and retain residents from all economic, cultural and racial backgrounds to find a home in this great community.

Riverfront FINAL