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Testimonials in support of AMS from
civic leaders, business owners & concerned citizens:


“This $18,000 cut would do very little to improve the City’s budget deficit and it would completely decimate an organization that does nothing but great things for our community.” Alderman Jim Ryan 


“I think our Main Street organization, under Sara McGibany, has done an excellent job of keeping our downtown active and vital. The AALA has worked with Main Street to advance our common goals of historic preservation in Alton. It would be a major step backwards if they lose their funding. I hope the city council decides that this is a good investment in our downtown.” Terry Sharp - President, Alton Area Landmarks Association 


"It would be a sin to see Alton Main Street not get the funding it needs to continue its efforts.  In the 6 years I have been downtown I have seen so many fruits of their work.  Sara and her energetic volunteer staff have done so much to bring life to downtown and the riverfront.  Besides the beauitification efforts and all the decorations at Christmas and other times of the year, Alton Main Street has put on so many great events  that have brought thousands of people right outside our door.  Events like the chili cookoff, the bluff run, the car shows, the block parties, live music, and so many others is what makes downtown a great place to be and a great place to have your business."  John Hentrich, owner of Riverbender.com  


“There will soon be a statue of Miles Davis along with a beautiful plaza which will serve to attract visitors to the downtown business district with the hope to encourage other improvements to come.  I believe Sara and the Main Street organization understand the concept of building on existing assets and the need to maintain a welcoming atmosphere to attract visitors.  Sara McGibany is a member of the Miles Davis Memorial Project committee as an involved citizen and representative of Alton Main Street.  I thank Sara and the Main Street organization for their support and promotion of the project from the beginning.  Their organized support and promotion of many events in the community are invaluable. Creating and maintaining a vibrant business district in downtown Alton is a must.  I support Main Street and the services they provide that are making a difference to the community and hope they are allowed to continue their work." Pat Ackman - Miles Davis Memorial Project 


Is this even real? 

This city continues to astound me as a business owner. While I claim not to know the inner workings and budget of our local political climate, I can say that in our last six years of calling Alton our home I've been nothing but impressed with Alton Main Street.

Those of you who know me know I'm rather anti-nonprofit. I'm little reluctant to trust committee run organizations- as they often lack efficiency and direction.

Alton Main Street is an organization that BREAKS those often terrible stereotypes- a shining example of how community organizations should work. I have nothing but awe and respect for what they've done in our city. Under the incredible leadership of Sara McGibany, this organization has used immense volunteer efforts and a limited budget to produce results in our city that are easily 10x the economic value of the "dollars" involved. Alton Main Street is responsible for many good things- the dearest to my heart being the dynamically growing Alton Farmers' & Artisans' Market at which we- at Maeva's Coffee purchased over $2,000 worth of raw produce for our quiche and baked goods last summer.

Alton Main Street does BIG things for our community- on a very teeny tiny budget comparative to their output. There has to be another way to fix our city's budget problems without dissolving the most recognized, respected, and movement-producing community group in Alton.

When things like this arise, I'm left scratching my head. There simply *must* be some other way.
Meredith Elston - The Milton Schoolhouse / Maeva's Coffee 


I have recently been informed that due to budgetary needs, the funding for Alton Main Street from the city is being cut.  I have worked on numerous projects with Alton Mainstreet and I have been thoroughly impressed with all aspects of of my interaction.  I recently was offered a great job in San Francisco and turned it down because I want to live in Alton.  I want to live and work in this community because of the energy and potential that is downtown Alton.  The potential is centered around community.  I moved here not because of Argosy or the Beltline - I moved here because of community  and location and the potential that is Alton.  Alton Main Street has been an essential part of the growth and development that I have felt in the last five years.  What would help the budgetary problems facing Alton would be to increase the budget to Alton Main Street not decrease it.  Eric Gray - professor at Principia College and will be teaching at Lewis and Clark Community College


"I have worked with Sara the last 4 months since opening Party On Broadway. Sara & the volunteers from Alton Main Street have been a great resource to me as a new business owner on Broadway by providing resources that I could use in my business, and background information.  I appreciate the passion the group puts into making the community a better place." Vickie Hopkins - Party On Broadway 


"I am honestly just shocked to hear that the Alton Main Street may be eliminated by the budget with the City of Alton.  The state making its cuts is definitely trickling through but how can they be so short sighted?  It seems we see Alton as a whole embrace anything that takes us backwards in regards to bringing in more businesses to Alton, tourism or Missouri customers to existing businesses instead of embracing and making efforts to move forward. Your efforts and results I believe have and will continue to grow in making a difference in the “Alton Marketplace”. And much more amazing is how little budget you make a difference on.  I can say that losing Alton Main Street within Alton would make a very negative impact for Alton and Alton business.  It seems like we take a step forward as a city and two backwards.  I have been down here for 30 plus years and our business has been here for over 62 years.  Nothing seems to change for the good. Good Luck Sara, losing you and the Alton Main Street would be a horrific loss." Dave Jones - President, William Office Products


“As a life-long Alton resident, I am so appreciative of all the wonderful things that Alton Main Street does for our community.  This organization puts on some outstanding community events that are always well organized and well attended.  But more importantly, this is the only group that works to preserve our historic history.  Because of this work, I have been a board member for 6 years and will continue to volunteer to support the efforts of this dynamic organization.  I am extremely proud to say that I am from Alton, Illinois and I want my son to be able to say the same thing no matter where life takes him.  Our city is rich in history and it is very important to be able to preserve it for future generations!  Alton Main Street works tirelessly to promote our beautiful Downtown district.  Please continue to support this organization.” Stacey Noble Loveland - Alton Resident & President, Alton Main Street


The Alton Main Street organization is the most active effort in our community: supporting existing local businesses,and welcoming new businesses as well. With their ongoing endorsement and promotion of small businesses, local entrepreneurs count on Alton Main Street as a partner, and as a liaison with city government. 


Without the Alton Main Street organization, there would be no Alton Farmers Market, or any of the special events held throughout the year. These events are true community builders, which are necessary for a healthy Alton community, now and in our future. The Alton Main Street organization is vital for continued progressive, forward thinking in Alton, encompassing preservation and adaptive re-use of our historic buildings, promotion of small local business and true community building events and festivals. Sara is doing a better job than anyone has done in her position, since Mainstreets inception. This is impressive, especially considering the meager budget they have to work with. We NEED Alton Main Street, period! Fondly, Jean M. Cousley - JMC Design Gallery Co-Op, 726 Belle Street


Without Main Street, My family and I would have missed out on so many wonderful events such as the Lighting of the tree, Painting murals (community service), shopping and selling at the Farmers Market, and so forth. Main Street has also worked to build connections and, as a YWCA board member, Main Street is helping with valuable connections, ideas, and footwork. To eliminate Mainstreet is a huge mistake. - Sue McPike Bayer, YWCA of Alton Board of Directors


Alton Main Street, and it's uncanny ability to partner with many other organizations and keep an open mind, is the reason Alton has become so absolutely fabulous. It's a fine example to other towns hoping to gain some life back. I am so proud of Alton. I've only been gone from the Alton area for three years and I am constantly in awe of the positive things happening there. When I go to community gatherings and volunteer meetings and people talk about bettering their cities, I say 'I know this wonderful human you should talk to. She could give you great advice on how to set that up.' Sara McGibany has been the fundamental common denominator in everything that is awesome about Alton. She is the hardest worker at every event and the one with the biggest smile. My small business benefits greatly from the events Alton Main Street offers every year. 

I'm really not sure where The Alton Mayor or the City Council's head is lately but I am sure there's not much light shining through. What happened? When did you become so full of yourself? When is the last time you volunteered? Step out of your suits. Go do actual work with people that regularly volunteer. Maybe attend some events. You'll understand your city better.

P.S. What about Piasa Body Art?
P.S.S. What about the annual Earthtones Festival I've been attending since 2007?
Would you like to give a heads up on future let downs while the topic is on the table?
Sarah Carney - Artist


Mayor Walker, I am writing to you in regards to the Alton Main Street Association and the plans to discontinue funding for FY 2016.  This program through the efforts of Sara McGibany, Executive Director has become a driving force in promoting Alton economically and as a positive community to live in.  The return on the investment with Alton Main Street based on my experience is many fold, they have helped our agency immensely with our Feed The Need Concert series with many hours of advice and volunteerism in getting it started and established which led to the great success we experienced on Saturday June 13, 2015.   Alton Main Street has a broad reach and supports many of our agencies mission efforts to serve seniors in need in the Alton region and raise awareness of senior needs. 

The loss of such a dynamic agency would be in my opinion a great loss for the City of Alton and the community; we are supportive of Alton Main Street and would support any efforts to fund the program.  Sincerely, Jonathan Becker - Executive Director, Senior Services Plus


"Alton Main Street has been there to support our business every step of the way. The organization provided a great start for us as a vendor at community events, assisted us with finding the perfect space as we graduated to a brick & mortar location, and continues to help us attract new customers who appreciate the charm of a locally-owned bakery over a chain restaurant. This type of personalized support is invaluable to a fledgling entrepreneur, and gave us confidence that we could achieve our dream of owning our own business!" Alexandra & Lou Mattea—LuciAnna’s Pastries


I am writing to express my support for the Alton Main Street program and the tremendous effect it has had on the Alton community, specifically the downtown revitalization and stabilization.  I have lived in the Alton area my entire life.  I worked in the Alton School district, a recently retired principal, and do some community volunteering as well as participating in the many art, music, small retail business and social activities in Alton.  The Alton Main Street has made these things happen.  Sara is at every community meeting and event I attend.  She connects with people in a community way, working efficiently and effectively.  She has worked to build capacity among the various non-profit and businesses through good communication and networking.  The AMS newsletter is invaluable to Alton.

In the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s there were only the bars.  The cultural and entrepreneurial opportunities have been cultivated and expanded through the instigation and support of the Alton Main Street.  They work in conjunction with the River Bend Growth Association while filling a completely different niche.  The explosion of grassroots events organized by AMS has caused Alton to look better to everyone.  The enthusiasm is contagious if you haven’t noticed.  They are also young people friendly.  That is a huge need in our community. 

Please find a way to avoid cutting funds for this minimally funded, vital organization.  A strong downtown benefits all areas of the city. Sincerely, Debra Bailey Sheary