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East St. Louis Approves Business District Plan

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EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (KTVI)-- The East St. Louis City Council voted Tuesday to approve the designation of the River`s Edge Business District.

The plan was originally called an entertainment district and drew sharp criticism from citizens concerned over what types of businesses the city would attract.

"More night clubs, more taverns, more killings," predicted East St. Louis resident Willis Jenkins during a public hearing on Tuesday.

Mayor Alvin Parks said the city would work to attract primarily family oriented businesses.

Stephanie Bush is the CEO of Community Development Sustainable Solutions.  The organization assists youth in East St. Louis.

"That`s exactly what the doctor ordered to fix some of these maladaptive behaviors," said Bush.  "We need to have alternatives on ways to get money into our community."

Other residents fear the new district will only create the types of businesses some say have led problems in East St. Louis.

"I think we already have an overworked and understaffed police department," said East St. Louis resident Marie Franklin.  "So who is going to maintain this district?"

Parks argues that the benefits would far outweigh any concerns.

The district includes an area from 10th street to the Mississippi River.  Below is the list of types of businesses the new ordinance outlines as one the city will try to attract.

Arcades, concert halls, playhouses, amphitheatres, bowling alleys, stadium, arenas, magic houses, comedy clubs, golf courses, tennis clubs, festivals, waterparks, sports venues of all sort, taverns, beer gardens and nightclubs.