EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Four years ago they were buying up land in East Saint Louis faster than anyone had ever seen. Now, the same companies out of a Chicago suburb, are charged with criminal property management for allowing those properties to get out of control, and become a public nuisance.
Wednesday, St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly told News 4 that the family-owned Sieron companies have submitted a plan to clean up their vacant houses and lots. If they don’t follow through, Kelly says the Sierons could also face criminal charges.
This summer, federal, state and local law enforcement crackdowns on places with histories of violence, including overnight nightclubs, public housing complexes and local convenience stores, have dramatically cut the number of murders in East St. Louis. State’s Attorney Kelly says this summer there have been two murders in East St. Louis, an 85-percent drop compared to the 14 homicides in the summer of 2010.
Kelly wants the effort to turnaround East St. Louis to continue with a longer commitment for the same programs that could lose funding within a few weeks.
The question now is: Now that the struggling community has turned a major corner in public safety, will it be allowed to build on it, or will the effort that helped make it possible, be taken away and the money shifted somewhere else?