April 29, 2022


The past few weeks have served up some good news for the Metro East, and we’re delighted to share it all with you through this edition of Good NewsLink. 

The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois announced earlier this week that the Metro East Levee System, which consists of five levees in Madison, St. Clair, and Monroe Counties, has been given its final letter of accreditation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 100-year flood levels. The levee system protects 65 miles of land, 288,000 people, 4,000 businesses, 56,000 jobs, 111,000 acres and $13.3 billion in assets. While it was estimated that, based on past funding, the improvements needed wouldn’t be completed until 2044, this project was completed at less than half the initial cost estimates and 22 years ahead of projected schedules! 

To enhance destinations for residents and visitors along the Illinois border of the Mississippi River, state Sen. Rachelle Aud Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) secured $10 million in state investments to improve the region’s infrastructure, outdoor recreation opportunities and interpretive sites. With the grant funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau has plans to expand attraction efforts with projects slated to improve Piasa Park, construct an activity center in Downtown Alton, complete the Port of Alton, upgrade public access points along the riverfront and develop areas near the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site in Hartford. 

Also in recent weeks, the Glen Carbon Board of Trustees unanimously approved Plocher Construction's final plat to create Meridian Plaza, a 43-lot, mixed-use development, at the southeast corner of Route 157 and Meridian Road. Plocher plans to put commercial/retail on seven lots at the north end of the project, six lots of office/retail space along the west side, single-family homes and two stormwater detention basins along the south side. Six luxury apartments - totaling 144 units - along with more detention basins, the club house, pool, dog park and walking trail will serve as the project's center. Phase one construction is expected to begin next month.

Below you'll find several other articles highlighting significant investments in various sectors across the footprint, businesses that are expanding in our region and more. Happy reading and have a great weekend! 

Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson, MPA
Executive Director and CEO
Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois
104 Magnolia Drive, Ste B
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
What completion of $119 million levee project means for metro-east, insurance rates 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 04/27/2022) 
The Metro East Levee System that protects 65 miles of land, residents and businesses from flooding has been given its final letter of accreditation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, southwestern Illinois business and civic leaders announced Wednesday. (Read More)

Here’s what’s in Illinois’ $46 billion budget package 
(Illinois Business Journal, 04/20/2022) 
Gov. JB Pritzker signed a package of bills Tuesday that make up a roughly $46 billion Fiscal Year 2023 state general revenue funds budget that includes increased funding for education and human services and $1.8 billion in mostly-temporary tax relief. (Read More)

$10M appropriated for development in Metro East 
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 04/21/2022) 
The Great Rivers National Scenic Byway is appropriated $10 million in the Fiscal Year 2023 state budget for a grant within the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, through the efforts of state Sen. Rachelle Aud Crowe, D-Glen Carbon. (Read More)

Trouw Nutrition expands campus in Highland 
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 04/15/2022) 
Trouw Nutrition opened its new Blending Innovation Center to focus on specialized new blending technology for the pet food industry. (Read More)

Collinsville district unveils plans for new Caseyville Elementary School 
(Illinois Business Journal, 04/14/2022) 
Collinsville Community Unit School District 10 has unveiled plans for a new Caseyville Elementary School to be completed in the 2023-24 school year. (Read More)

Pritzker signs bills aimed at easing teacher shortage; numbers improving 
(Illinois Business Journal, 04/28/2022) 
Gov. JB Pritzker signed a package of bills Wednesday aimed at easing the state’s shortage of teachers and other education professionals, even as a new report shows Illinois just added a record number of new teachers to its ranks. (Read More)

Meridian Plaza receives approval from Glen Carbon trustees 
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 04/27/2022) 
After months of meetings dating back to last September, the Glen Carbon Board of Trustees unanimously approved Plocher Construction's final plat Tuesday to create Meridian Plaza, a 43-lot, mixed-use development, at the southeast corner of Route 157 and Meridian Road. (Read More)
PCs for People help get computers in the homes of those who truly need them!

Distributes refurbished corporate computers updated to Windows 10, with very low-cost, unlimited internet access for students, underserved populations, elderly, and veterans.

They have connected over 450,000 people to internet and computing devices. The State of Illinois Office of Broadband has committed to facilitate the donation of 10,000 computers to PCs for People Metro East, but they have set a goal of sourcing a total of 25,000 computers in their first year in order to meet the significant need in our community, and they need our help to meet that goal.

PCs for People is NAID AAA certified to wipe clean all data off computers and recertify them for reuse

PC donations needed!!  

If you would like more information about how to donate computers, please contact the Leadership Council office at 618-692-9745 or
Edwardsville committee favors $3.1M in upgrades for wastewater plant 
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 04/27/2022)  
Edwardsville's wastewater treatment will eventually be able to swap out biosolid storage tanks for maintenance and cleaning as needed if city council approves next Tuesday. (Read More)

Boeing hiring hundreds for local manufacturing, engineering jobs 
(Illinois Business Journal, 04/27/2022) 
Boeing is hiring hundreds of experienced engineering and manufacturing professionals in St. Louis. Interested candidates are encouraged to attend an in-person career event on April 30. (Read More)

Tourism bureau engages NASCAR fans 
(Advantage News, 04/24/2022) 
The NASCAR weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway in early June is already proving to be a money-maker for hotels in the region. (Read More)

Local Metal Recycling Company Resilient Amid Pandemic, Supported by Illinois SBDC for the Metro East at SIUE 
(RiverBender, 04/26/2022) 
After learning by doing, and accumulating 20 years of first-hand experience in the scrap industry, Douglas Francis launched his entrepreneurial journey with his company Alton Dock Works, LLC. (Read More)

State launches new tourism campaign 
(Advantage News, 04/19/2022) 
The Riverbend is featured prominently in a promotional video for Illinois' new tourism marketing campaign "Middle of Everything." (Read More)

Workers Bring New McDonald's To Life On Broadway In Alton 
(RiverBender, 04/15/2022) 
Construction workers and plumbers are bringing the new McDonald’s on Broadway to life. The McDonald’s structure was destroyed in a devastating fire that occurred on June 18, 2021. (Read More)

Public meeting set for new I-270 river bridge and road interchange 
(Illinois Business Journal, 04/22/2022) 
The Illinois Department of Transportation will host a public meeting May 4 to discuss the construction for the proposed replacement of the Interstate 270 Bridge over the Mississippi River and the associated Riverview Drive interchange modification. (Read More)
Southwestern Illinois Connected Communities Broadband: Access, Use & Adoption

The Leadership Council Education Committee seeks to build long-term reliability and consistency in internet connectivity and broadband access for remote workers and e-learning for students in the SWIL region enabling further economic development and educational enhancement activities.

Strategic Regional Planning Built on the Following Objectives:
  • Build awareness of connectivity challenges
  • Advocate for enhanced connectivity with state and federal legislators and related companies
  • Identify regional broadband and internet connectivity key priorities in Urban, Suburban, and Rural SWIL areas
  • Identify Infrastructure solution to bridge digital connectivity
  • Build regional strategic alliances to further connectivity efforts

How to get involved? Contact the Leadership Council office at 618-692-9745 or Click here for more information about Broadband Funding Opportunities.
Thank you to the Leadership Council's Program Sponsors: