New Kroger Coming to Belleville

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BELLEVILLE, IL. (KTVI) – A new grocery store is coming to Belleville but not before a close and controversial city council vote.
'Ruler Foods,' a discount store and subsidiary of the Kroger Company, is set to go into the old Bel Air Bowl site on North Belt West. That comes after Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert broke a tie on the council last night by voting in favor of giving Kroger`s $200,000  in 'TIF' funding or tax increment financing.
The tax incentives will be used for demolition and development at the site.
Some council members opposed giving away tax dollars.
But Mayor Eckert defended his decision.
'We think it`s a good deal. And in a matter of a few years, we`re going to recoup what we put into it. If that building sits there for another number of years, eventually we`ll probably have it in court when it meets that criteria and then we`ll pay to tear it down,' said Mayor Eckert.
Melinda Hult, a council member who voted against the 'TIF,' responded, 'You`re supposed to have a budget for TIF. Belleville uses TIF as a slush fund...I think this is just blatantly bribery to get this company to come to town.'
The building has been vacant for some six years.- it is empty now.
Eckert says demolition should begin in March and the store could open by September.

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