EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (KTVI)– Saturday Night Live hit close to home with its comedy over the weekend calling East St. Louis a hell hole.
East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks doesn’t like the idea of a Saturday Night Live actor calling his city a ‘hell hole’.
“East St. Louis has an image issue. We understand it’s been a tough image for about 130 years, but we overcome that image everyday by doing good deeds and by telling the story,” said Parks.
East St. Louisians who have achieved remarkable success include Olympic gold medalists Dawn Harper and Jackie Joyner Kersee and jazz legend Miles Davis.
But there’s also the story of high un-employment in a city where jobs are few and young and old compete for the same opportunities.
“We have to find something for our young people to do. We have to develop economic industry here. There are no jobs,” said resident Tyrone Billy.
High violent crime is also an issue. Monday morning a man was shot and killed outside Yogi and Jackie’s Bar and Grill, which could lose its liquor license for violating the law, by staying open past 2 o’clock.
“I don’t think I should lose my liquor license. This is my life style. It’s all I got,” said owner Johnnie Wilson.
A decision on whether Wilson will retain his liquor license could come as early as Thursday. However, cleaning up East St. Louis’s image will take a lot longer.
“One of the things we have to do is make sure our city is as safe and as healthy as possible we have to make sure it is bright and clear,” added Parks.
Mayor Parks says he will continue to work to improve East St. Louis’ image, work with law enforcement to reduce crime, and work with city, state, and federal lawmakers to develop the riverfront creating jobs for a city that sorely needs them.