Empire Neighborhood Organization Forms

Belleville's oldest neighborhood is home to its newest neighborhood organization. The Empire Neighborhood comprises the area bordered by East Washington Street to the north, Charles Street to the East, South Belt East to the south and Illinois Street (Hwy 159) to the west. The groups members have been meeting for several months discussing ways to improve property values, prevent crime, organize get-togethers and much more.


The group's August meeting featured Sheriff Rick Watson’s Visit. Sheriff Watson stopped by to talk to the group about things like the clean-up of the jail, Scared Straight coming back to film in our area, a work program where the prisoners clean up properties around the county.

He told the group about a new program where officers leave cards at various properties to let people know that they have been there to check things out.

Sheriff Watson said that anyone suspecting drug-related problems in the neighborhood should not hesitate to call the County Sheriff’s Department because the drug task force for the area is run by the county.

He also relayed a story about the department recently solving a 20-year old murder case and being close to solving another murder case that is over 40 years old.

County tip hotline number: 1-866-DIME (Will Viall suggested providing an email hotline so that residents could send pictures of suspicious vehicles/activities to department & the sheriff said that would be a good idea.)

Resident Talented Web-designer Rick Ortiz’s Visit: Rick brought in several examples of neighborhood website layouts that he thought were impressive, and he asked us to check them out and give feedback on which we liked the best. (You will be hearing from Rick through email sometime soon.)

He asked us to think about what “buckets” we want to make sure to include and provide information links to: history, properties for sale, businesses in the area, events calendar, etc.

We also talked about the neighborhood name. Since no other suggestions were floated and those in attendance at the meeting liked, “The Empire Neighborhood,” after the Empire Stove company, we will probably go with that unless there are objections. That way Rick can get started on the website.

Issues of Concern Mentioned:

The bank has possession of Bassett’s house.

Other Important Information: 

  • Neighborhood picnic is on September 21st, from 2 to 6, at the corner of South High Street and East Garfield.
  • Jim Morris is planning on setting up the IL Chip Program(Child Identification Program,) provided through the Masons, at the picnic.
  • Picnic stuff covered by volunteers: Plates, cups, utensils, meat, buns, condiments, grill, picnic tables.


Feel free to bring chips, desserts, etc. Anything that will hold up ok in the heat.


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