Proposed ordinance could close outreach program

After spending millions on a downtown improvement project, a local city council is seeking final approval on the type of businesses that move into privately owned buildings.

After serving his country in the Marine Corps, Zane Moore wanted to give back to his hometown.

"There’s a need for food, clothing, spiritual guidance, and just an all-around need for a humanitarian act," said Moore.

Moore rented a store front and stocked the shelves with donations.

However, a proposed city ordinance that new businesses submit a business plan and wait 60 days threatens to keep his doors closed.

"People want more businesses downtown that bring in tax revenue," said Moore. "Since we’re not selling anything, they’re not making any tax on it."

Du Quoin Mayor Guy Alongi denies that the proposed ordinance targets any particular business, but after spending $2.4 million upgrading the city’s lighting and widening the sidewalks, he says he is simply protecting the city’s investment downtown.

"I feel as though it’s a humanitarian effort, but I don’t know whether a soup kitchen needs to be on Main Street," said Alongi.

"Either way, I’m going to do what God has called me to do, even if I have to do it out of my car or my truck," said Moore.

"I think that Main Street should be left up to retail business," said Alongi.

By getting his 501c3 nonprofit status, Moore says he hopes to prove his worth to the city and keep the doors open.

The Du Quoin City Council will vote on the new business ordinance during their Nov. 9 meeting.

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