June 22, 2022


While the sizzling summer temperatures are expected to cool down a bit next week, things are continuing to heat up in various sectors all across the Metro East that we’re pleased to share with you in this edition of Good NewsLink. 

The Metro East Levee System received its final letter of certification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) back in April acknowledging the levees now meet 100-year flood levels, and now work has already begun on gaining 500-year certification. With two projects down and eight more to go, it is estimated that the 500-year stage will cost another $75 million in construction and around $130 million overall. The work will involve more stabilization and seepage beams, relief wells, a couple of new pump stations and modification of others. These improvements will be conducted within the five levee districts along the 65-mile stretch from Alton to Columbia, with the hope of completing the work within the next three years. The Leadership Council is proud to play a role in community outreach to help reinforce the significance of repairing the levee system and to ensure that federal funding continues to be received to support the project. 

Just in time for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series race that was an overwhelming success earlier this month in Madison, Illinois, Fairview Heights-based IMPACT Strategies recently finished construction on a complete interior and exterior renovation of the Oval Tower Suites at World Wide Technology Raceway. The project encompassed improvements to the entire building, including the rooftop viewing experience and was part of the multi-million-dollar renovation plan for the track leading up to the NASCAR events. 

In other development news, Holland Construction Services has begun construction on Keystone Place at Magnolia Commons, a new senior living community in Glen Carbon. The 180,000-square-foot project will be located just off Illinois Route 157 and feature 79 independent living units, 43 assisted care units and 20 memory care units, as well as other amenities like a full kitchen and dining room, movie theater, salon, bistro, fitness center and more. Also in recent weeks, multi-million-dollar renovations to Eckert’s Cider Shed and Mr. E's Cider Donut & Custard Shop in Belleville were opened to the public. 

Continue reading for more on these exciting stories and all the other good news occurring in the region and have a great rest of the week!

Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson, MPA
Executive Director and CEO
Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois
104 Magnolia Drive, Ste B
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
One hundred years down, 500 to go: Millions goes into the repair of area levees
(Illinois Business Journal, June 2022 Issue, Page 1) 
When Chuck Etwert took over supervision of Metro East flood protection projects in 2014, he was told he could expect to be done in “two or three years.” (Read More)

IMPACT Strategies’ renovations greet guests coming to raceway 
(Illinois Business Journal, 06/14/2022)
Fairview Heights-based IMPACT Strategies finished construction on a complete interior and exterior renovation of the Oval Tower Suites at World Wide Technology Raceway, in time for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series race that took place on June 5. (Read More)

Holland Construction begins senior living project in Glen Carbon
(Illinois Business Journal, June 2022 Issue, Page 2) 
Holland Construction Services has begun construction on Keystone Place at Magnolia Commons, a new senior living community in Glen Carbon. (Read More)

Metro East shopping center sells for $40M to New York investor 
(St. Louis Business Journal, 06/08/2022) 
A Metro East shopping center anchored by national retailers has sold for $40.75 million to a New York investor. (Read More)

First National Bank of Waterloo to acquire The Village Bank in latest Metro East deal 
(St. Louis Business Journal, 06/13/2022) 
The parent company of First National Bank of Waterloo is acquiring The Village Bank in its second deal since 2020, boosting the bank’s assets to nearly $1 billion. (Read More)

Eckert's to open beer garden and sweets shop in Belleville after months of work 
(St. Louis Post Dispatch, 06/09/2022) 
BELLEVILLE — Multi-million-dollar renovations will open at Eckert's Farms this week. (Read More)

Metro East brewery's expansion aims to turn itself into community focal point 
(St. Louis Business Journal, 06/13/2022) 
Old Herald Brewery and Distillery in Collinsville celebrated its three year anniversary in March, and just a few days later began construction on a 10,000-square-foot mixed-used outdoor gathering space, funded primarily by brewery owners Derik and Whitney Reiser. (Read More)

Scott/MidAmerica getting money for aircraft rescue vehicle 
(Illinois Business Journal, 06/09/2022) 
Some $678,127 in federal funding will go toward an aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle to be used at Scott Air Force Base and neighboring MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah. (Read More)

Despite pandemic, Metro East airport saw flights surge last year 
(Illinois Business Journal, 06/06/2022) 
St. Louis Downtown Airport in Metro East announced that flight operations at the airport increased to a total of 101,938 during 2021, the highest total for the airport in the past five years. (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
Holland Construction breaks ground on new Mount Vernon Police Station 
(Illinois Business Journal, 06/07/2022) 
Holland Construction Services recently broke ground on the new Mount Vernon (Ill.) Police Station located at Logan and 27th Street. (Read More)

Upward Bound receives grants at SIUE, LCCC 
(Advantage News, 06/06/2022) 
The U.S. Department of Education has announced 46 grants totaling more than $15.2 million for schools running the Upward Bound Program. (Read More)

MEPRD Announces Record $3.4M In Available Grant Funding For Recreation Development, Planning, And Events In Metro East
(RiverBender, 06/16/2022) 
MADISON AND ST. CLAIR COUNTIES, IL – The Metro East Park and Recreation District (MEPRD) today announced more than $3.4 million in new grant funding through the (FY2023) Park and Trail Grant, Community Planning Grant, and Event Sponsorship Grant Programs. (Read More)

Advantage, Belleville: Westhaven brings tennis, pool back to community 
(Illinois Business Journal, June 2022 Issue, Page 6) 
A pair of longtime friends are behind the reopening of an iconic club in the south of Belleville. (Read More)

Pickleball court resurfacing, lighting will proceed this summer in O’Fallon 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 06/14/2022)
Contracts are headed to the O’Fallon City Council for approval Monday, June 20, for the highly anticipated improvements to the pickleball courts at Hesse Park. (Read More)

Illinois EPA Awards Nearly $862,000 To Heartlands Conservancy For Water Quality Protection Within The Indian Creek  
(RiverBender, 06/14/2022) 
BELLEVILLE – HeartLands Conservancy, an environmental non-profit serving southwestern Illinois, applied for the Section 319(h) grant in partnership with Madison County. (Read More)

Riverfront Commission to meet this month, may discuss creating "Port of Alton" 
(Advantage News, 06/16/2022) 
The head of the local tourism bureau sees the cruise ship industry as a growing player in the local tourism picture. (Read More)

Alton Memorial rises and shines to sleep safe honor for infant care 
(Illinois Business Journal, 06/16/2022) 
Alton Memorial Hospital was recently recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as “Gold Level” for its commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep. (Read More)

SWIC team wins National Department of Defense competition 
(Illinois Business Journal, 06/10/2022)
Skills, drive and time management are the factors that helped push the Southwestern Illinois College technical education students to victory at the recent Department of Defense Project MFG National Competition. (Read More)

Program connects Illinois farmers to mental health resources 
(Illinois Business Journal, June 2022 Issue, Page 6) 
As part of an ongoing campaign to connect the Illinois farming community to mental health resources, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II visited the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in May.  (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: