February 16, 2022


While colder temperatures and a wintry mix are looming in the forecast for later this week, other recent headlines have continued to communicate the positive things happening all across southwestern Illinois. We’re pleased to share the highlights in this lengthy edition of Good NewsLink, which includes coverage of workforce and investments being made in infrastructure, transportation, education and more.

In recent weeks, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Broadband announced $47 million in funding for 22 projects in every region of the state through the second round of Connect Illinois, the state’s broadband expansion plan. Round Two funding includes $23 million in Connect Illinois grant awards matched by $24 million in nonstate funding, with plans to expand broadband access to approximately 13,000 homes, businesses, farms, and community institutions across Illinois. These crucial investments will provide thousands more families and businesses with access to the economic opportunity, education, and healthcare that come with 21st century connectivity. Additionally, as part of the historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program, nearly $220 million has been awarded for transit and port projects in southwestern Illinois, reinforcing the state’s priority to create economic opportunity by moving freight and people more safely and efficiently while improving all modes of Illinois transportation.

There's also been recent good news about the economic impact of both St. Louis Downtown Airport and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, the latter of which is also anticipating record passenger growth by year’s end. Also in St. Clair County, nearly $10 million in Rebuild Illinois funds will pay for a new public safety and transit operations building at the Emerson Park Station in East St. Louis. The 16,000-square-foot, two-story building is expected to take 20 months to complete and will be home to offices for the St. Clair County Mass Transit District, the sheriff’s department, a 911 call center, and a Chestnut Health Systems pilot program that will assist riders experiencing mental health issues and homelessness. 

Last but certainly not least, the Leadership Council is thrilled to have officially welcomed Kyle Anderson, who took over the position of executive director earlier this month. You'll hear directly from Kyle in a future issue of Good NewsLink, but in the meantime, we encourage you to read on for more on the noteworthy developments underway across the region.

Happy Reading and have a great rest of your week!

Leadership Council Staff
Gov. Pritzker Announces $47 Million In Broadband Capital Investments To Advance State’s Largest-ever Broadband Expansion
(RiverBender, 01/26/2022)
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Broadband today announced $47 million in funding for 22 projects in every region of the state through the second round of Connect Illinois, the state’s broadband expansion plan. (Read More)

Rebuild Illinois funding released for SW Illinois
(Advantage News, 01/27/2022) 
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is announcing nearly $220 million in Rebuild Illinois money for transit and port projects in southwestern Illinois. (Read More)

Mascoutah airport has $3.1B economic impact
(Alton Telegraph, 01/10/2022)
MASCOUTAH — MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is being credited for a $3.1 billion economic impact and thousands of jobs. (Read More)

St. Louis Downtown Airport Contributes $422 Million in Regional Economic Impact
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 01/11/2022)
St. Louis Downtown Airport (KCPS), an FAA-designated reliever airport in St. Clair County, Illinois, shared the results of a newly released study which found the airport continues to be a major contributor to the local and state economies. (Read More)

Anderson takes helm as new executive director of Leadership Council
(Illinois Business Journal, February 2022 Issue, Page 11)
A longtime public figure takes over this month as head of Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois. (Read More)

A multi-million dollar public safety and transit center is coming to East St. Louis
(Belleville News Democrat, 01/27/2022)
Nearly $10 million in state money will pay for a new public safety and transit operations building at the Emerson Park Station in East St. Louis. (Read More)

Fairview seeks to upgrade its older commercial areas
(Illinois Business Journal, February 2022 Issue, Page 2)
Fairview Heights has applied for a $2.3 million grant through Illinois’ Rebuild Downtowns and Main Streets Capital Grant program, funds from which will be matched and used to upgrade the city’s oldest commercial corridor with sidewalks, decorative lighting, new landscaping, and other capital improvements. (Read More)

2021 Advancements in the St. Louis Region’s Freight Network
(Construction Forum St. Louis, 01/06/2022)
The St. Louis Regional Freightway played a pivotal role in 2021 in helping advance the bi-state St. Louis region as a global freight hub. (Read More)

MidAmerica anticipates new airport record by end of year
(Illinois Business Journal, February 2022 Issue, Page 5) 
If all goes as anticipated, projections for passenger usage of MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in St. Clair County, which reached an all-time record level in 2021, call for that number to be surpassed by the end of the current calendar year. (Read More)

Holland Construction Services Promotes Katie McCutchen to CFO
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 01/25/2022)
Holland Construction Services President, Mike Marchal, is pleased to announce the promotion of Katie McCutchen to Chief Financial Officer. (Read More)

Bi-State Development names new director for St. Louis Downtown Airport
(Illinois Business Journal, 02/02/2022)
Bi-State Development has named a replacement for the director of operations at St. Louis Downtown Airport. (Read More)

IMPACT Strategies wraps renovations for TEAM Industrial office/warehouse
(Illinois Business Journal, 02/07/2022)
Fairview Heights-based IMPACT Strategies recently completed renovations for a new office and warehouse location for TEAM Industrial, a worldwide provider of fully integrated industrial service solutions including highly specialized inspection, condition assessment, maintenance, and repair services. (Read More)

Old Illinois Bell Telephone building may see new life
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 02/07/2022)
The past two years detoured plans for a 4 Hands Brewing Company to open at 119 South Main Street, which has been vacant for many years. (Read More)

Renewed efforts underway to market land around Hofbräuhaus
A new brokerage deal is giving life to efforts to market property surrounding the Hofbräuhaus St. Louis restaurant in Belleville. (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
New Village Hall & Public Safety Building for Roxana
The Roxana community is celebrating its new Village Hall and Public Safety Building. (Read More)

Louer Facility Planning celebrates top projects
Collinsville-based Louer Facility Planning completed several interesting and unique interiors projects in 2021. (Read More)

Tourism investment called key to economic development in ‘22
(Illinois Business Journal, February 2022 Issue, Page 11) 
Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau President and CEO Cory Job says tourism will be the economic engine of the post-pandemic world. (Read More)

R.P. Lumber marks 45 years, 2,000-plus employees
(Illinois Business Journal, February 2022 Issue, Page 14)
On a frigid Jan. 17, 1977, R.P. Lumber Co. Inc., opened its doors for the first time in Staunton.

Homes selling fast in Metro East counties
(Illinois Business Journal, 02/03/2022)
December home inventory maintained a low number of days on the market, according to just-released figures from the Shiloh-based Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois. (Read More)

Madison County teenager receives recognition as entrepreneur 
(Illinois Business Journal, 02/04/2022)
Seventeen-year-old Aria Burnside is able to able to list “small business owner” and “entrepreneur” on her resume and, as of last month, she can call herself “Madison County Made.” (Read More)

ECF presents plan for distributing tornado relief funds
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 02/06/2022)
The Edwardsville Community Foundation has announced its plans for distributing funds through the ECF Relief Fund. (Read More)

Brokers attempt to move Caseyville commercial land
(Illinois Business Journal, February 2022 Issue, Page 1)
Long-stalled progress on Forest Lakes, the commercial property adjacent to the Tanglewood residential development in Caseyville, is getting another look. (Read More)

County wants to transfer land to Madison County Transit for green space
(Illinois Business Journal, 01/28/2022)
Officials are planning to preserve green space in Edwardsville as development continues along Governors’ Parkway. (Read More)

Alton's Brown Street to be repaved between Main and Worden
(Advantage News, 01/25/2022)
The Alton City Council Committee of the Whole has approved a resolution that will move the Brown Street repave closer to a start. (Read More)

Alton authorizes sidewalk project near middle school
(Advantage News, 01/27/2022)
The Alton City Council has authorized the pursuit of a $15,000 grant that will assist in curing drainage issues along Rock Spring Drive. (Read More)

Godfrey pursues PEP Grant
(Advantage News, 02/02/2022)
The Village of Godfrey continues to round up money to offset costs associated with the Glazebrook Park expansion and is looking toward the county for a grant. (Read More)

Wood River mayor talks bike trails
(Advantage News, 01/23/2022) 
Wood River Mayor Tom Stalcup gave an update to the city council about a plan that could soon include the city as part of the area’s pedestrian and bike trail system. (Read More)

Jersey church added to National Register of Historic Places
(Illinois Business Journal, 02/04/2022)
A church in Jerseyville is the Metro East’s lone entry added by the state to the National Register of Historic Places during 2021. (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 [email protected]. Click here for more information about Broadband Funding Opportunities.
Thank you to the Leadership Council's Program Sponsors: