June 3, 2022


The biggest NASCAR race in the Midwest will take place right here in the Metro East this weekend as the sold-out event packs World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. While that’s a great accomplishment for the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300, it’s not the only positive news for our region. This issue of Good NewsLink is filled with articles highlighting major infrastructure developments, new investments and milestones being reached by local business, healthcare expansions, job creation efforts and activities in various other sectors. 

Several projects throughout Downstate Illinois are being funded by $46 million in Capital Development Board investments made possible by the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital plan. The funds will be used to improve and renovate numerous state agency buildings in the state’s southern regions – including Jersey, Madison and St. Clair counties – and help address maintenance projects. 

As part of FreightWeekSTL hosted at the end of May, the St. Louis Regional Freightway released its 2023 Priority Projects List, which includes 25 projects that represent a total investment of more than $3.8 billion, up from $2.75 billion last year. The list indicates tremendous progress on a range of projects that will strengthen critical roads, bridges, rail infrastructure, and port and airport facilities across the bi-state St. Louis region. Among the priority projects added to the list for 2023 is the Illinois Route 3 Connector between Illinois Route 3 and Illinois Route 203, which is an $81.5 million project that aims to improve traffic flow and network connectivity within the project area. Another panel discussion hosted during FreightWeekSTL highlighted a new economic impact study on the Route 3 corridor, which is gaining recognition as a premiere heavy industry and warehousing corridor with distinct advantages over other areas around the country, such as the percentage of the direct jobs in manufacturing, transportation and warehousing that greatly eclipse the regional and national averages for jobs in those sectors. 

Members of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois were also excited to participate in FreightWeeKSTL by attending the Ag Coast of America Riverboat Cruise, which provided an up-close look at critical elements of the region’s multimodal freight network, including roads and bridges; rail and barge facilities; multimodal freight transfer services; and the ports and infrastructure that have positioned our region as a thriving freight and logistics hub with global access. 

Continue reading for more on these exciting stories and other developments underway across the region 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
How a bold investor turned a nearly-scrapped Illinois raceway into NASCAR’s newest stop
(Belleville News-Democrat, 06/03/2022)
About 50 years ago, as a kid riding a dirt bike, Curtis Francois whetted an appetite for speed that steadily progressed to motorcycles and then to racing cars professionally. (Read More)

St. Louis Regional Freightway’s 2023 Priority Project List Totals $3.8B 
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 05/31/2022)
The St. Louis Regional Freightway’s 2023 Priority Projects List includes 25 projects representing a total investment of more than $3.8 billion, up from $2.75 billion last year. (Read More)

Study Reveals IL Rte. 3 is a Nationally Significant Heavy Industrial Corridor 
(Construction Forum STL, 05/31/2022) 
A 60-mile stretch of Illinois (IL) Route 3 generates $16 billion in annual business revenue and supports 221,881 direct and indirect jobs, according to a new economic impact study commissioned by the St. Louis Regional Freightway. (Read More)

Report Reveals Industrial Construction at Historic High in St. Louis Region 
(Construction Forum STL, 05/31/2022) 
The St. Louis region’s industrial real estate market continues to rise to meet the demand for modern bulk and manufacturing spaces with record levels of construction. (Read More)

Millions of dollars in investments going into Midwestern ports 
(Illinois Business Journal, 05/26/2022) 
More than a half a billion dollars in recent, current or expected improvements at three Midwestern ports will strengthen these facilities and reinforce their important roles in the global freight network. (Read More)

Leaders praise state’s capital plan as money pours into Southern Illinois 
(Illinois Business Journal, 05/19/2022) 
Projects throughout Downstate Illinois are being funded by $46 million in Capital Development Board investments made possible by the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital plan. (Read More)

Madison County Receives $3.8 Million For Sale Of Plum Street Property 
(RiverBender, 05/19/2022)  
EDWARDSVILLE — It’s official, Madison County‘s Plum Street property is sold. “In real estate, it’s never sold until it’s closed,” Chairman Kurt Prenzler said. “The sale isn’t official until the deed is conveyed." (Read More)

Tourism bureau awarded $919,000 grant for Route 66 projects 
(Advantage News, 05/17/2022)  
The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau will soon be getting to work on spending a $919,000 grant from the state. (Read More)

Edwardsville getting 95-acre development hub featuring The Complex 
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 05/27/2022) 
A group of local and national investors is bringing a new golf and entertainment complex to the eastern edge of Edwardsville. (Read More)

Holland Construction Services Breaks Ground on New Mt. Vernon Police Station 
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 05/31/2022)
Holland Construction Services recently broke ground on the new Mt. Vernon Police Station located at Logan and 27th Street in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. (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
Maryville getting grant to improve sewer system 
(Illinois Business Journal, 05/16/2022)
State Sen. Rachelle Aud Crowe announced the village of Maryville is set to receive more than $820,000 in water infrastructure funding. (Read More)

Belleville firm lands major trail-construction project
(Illinois Business Journal, 05/15/2022) 
After a competitive bidding process, St. Clair County Transit District says Belleville-based Hank’s Excavating & Landscaping, Inc. was awarded a $767,952 construction contract for Phase I of the Old Collinsville Road Trail. (Read More)

Dupo railyard an example of optionality 
(Republic-Times, 06/01/2022) 
An unprecedented disruption in the global supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic is still having a major impact on many U.S. industries. (Read More)

Container-on-Vessel service closer to reality for St. Louis region 
(Illinois Business Journal, 05/24/2022) 
A collaborative effort to launch the first, patented Container-on-Vessel service to the Midwest continues to make progress, with several key milestones being reached in recent weeks. (Read More)

New Cancer Institute to treat patients in Metro East region 
(Illinois Business Journal, 05/26/2022) 
Urology of St. Louis, the largest private urologic practice in St. Louis and the Metro East, has announced the development of Urology of St. Louis’ Cancer Institute. (Read More)

Renovations underway at Bethalto East 
(Advantage News, 05/26/2022) 
An ambitious plan to renovate much of the Bethalto East Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade School is underway. (Read More)

SIUE career services program tailored to community needs 
(Illinois Business Journal, 05/23/2022) 
George Beck of East St. Louis finally snagged a job after filling out 22 applications. Rita McKnuckles and Eloise Taylor, both of East St. Louis, eagerly await their weekly Google Digital Skills class. (Read More)

Wisper Internet instrumental in connecting Afghanistan refugees 
(Illinois Business Journal, May 2022 Issue, Page 14) 
Imagine leaving everything you have ever known, with only the clothes on your back. (Read More)

MCT Summer Youth Pass program to begin
(Advantage News, 05/18/2022) 
The Madison County Transit Summer Youth Pass program is back. Kids Kindergarten through 12th grade (age 18 and under) will have the opportunity to ride MCT buses for free from Memorial Day to Labor Day for essential trips. (Read More)

Confluence Tower reopens for season 
(Advantage News, 05/20/2022) 
The Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower has reopened for the season. Visitors take an elevator to three different platforms set at 50 feet, 100 feet and 150 feet above ground. (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: