EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – Residents in East St. Louis are upset over a multi-million dollar project that was supposed to make their neighborhood better, but instead made it worse.

The city paid the contractor part of the $3.4 million to fix up the neighborhood by paving streets, redoing sidewalks, and driveways. However, after weeks on the job, the contractor left the streets, sidewalks, and driveways unfinished. It’s a nightmare for residents along North 24th Street.

“And they took up all the side wall. Took up the curb, and people can’t get halfway in or out,” said Willis Jenkins, an East St. Louis resident. “How do you give a $2 million contract and nobody follow up with what’s going on. The only thing I could say is if I could get $2 million and not do the work I would do. Somebody dropped the ball. This is uncalled for, at least put the sidewalks in.”

The project started with a budget of $2 million. The city added more money to it, bringing it to $3.4 million. FOX 2 was told that the contractor has already been paid $1.7 million to work on 24th Street and another block away.

“That’s one of the reasons that we made changes down at city hall in the public works department,” said East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern III. “Because we saw that there were things that were falling through the cracks, and citizens were screaming.”

“It’s not my fault. I don’t run the day-to-day operations,” Eastern said. “It was the public works director’s duty and the engineer’s duty to make sure this street is done and done correctly.”

The mayor said the director of public works is no longer with the city.
Eastern also said he has no idea when this project is going to be finished.

“It’s a big ball of confusion. I think it’s unfair to the citizens of the City of East St. Louis because they’re the ones that are suffering while we’re trying to figure out who’s on first,” he said.