by Michael R. Allen
Today the Belleville News-Democrat reported on an effort to turn the old YMCA building in Belleville, Illinois — originally the Belleville Turner Hall — into an arts center.
The story included some good news in the saga: members of a city committee charged with selling the city-owned building are impressed with the plan. After a lackluster response to a city-issued Request for Proposals (RFP) last year, Belleville officials have began mentioning demolition as a possible outcome. In February, I joined Belleville preservationists in urging the city to re-issue the RFP, which lacked important information on the building and mostly consisted of a report and asbestos in the building.
Proponents of the arts center have launched a Facebook group for supporters.