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BELLEVILLE, Ill. - Belleville store owners fear a new Christmas event to celebrate the city's bicentennial could put them out of business.

Officials say they needed to let vendors know if they could take part in a big German Christmas Market in Public Square this year. The aldermen voted in favor of the market Monday night in a 12 to 2 vote.

As of now, the market is expected to be open from November 28 through December 23.

Alderwoman-at-large Lillian Schneider says that's way too long.

"This is what makes or breaks the businesses during Christmas time. This is when they have to do their best," said Schneider.

Some business owners also expressed concern over limited parking and the fact that the proposal for the market was approved without a projected cost for the event. However, Mayor Mark Eckert believes the German Christmas market can boost the city's economy.

"We believe it's going to bring new shoppers, new focus, new attention to Belleville," said Eckert.

He says as hard as the city has worked to develop downtown Belleville, they wouldn't jeopardize business. He believes the market could help businesses during their fourth quarter.

"There's no doubt if you bring people in buses and you bring them into your city, they decide to dine, they will go to our other stores to shop and discover what unique stores we have downtown this holiday season," he said.

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