March 31, 2022


While rainy weather and cooler temperatures blew through the region this week, positive news of workforce development initiatives and investments being made in various sectors across the Metro East are putting a little spring in our step. 

St. Louis County developer – The Staenberg Group – recently purchased land at 2399 Troy Road in Glen Carbon and officially started construction on a $70 million Metro East retail development, which will transform the former Foucek tree farm into the Orchard Town Center. The site will encompass 52 acres of ground-up retail surrounding a Menards home improvement store and feature more retail space totaling 55,000 square feet as well as 12 outlets for retail or restaurants. 

Earlier this month, Gov. JB Pritzker joined leaders from Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey to announce upcoming renovations to five historic buildings located on the school’s campus. The project includes a complete renovation of the Main Complex, which includes five historic buildings (Baldwin, Caldwell, Wade, Fobes and Reid) at approximately 170,000 square feet. The renovations are partially funded by a $37.5 million investment through Rebuild Illinois, the state’s bipartisan capital plan and the first in nearly a decade, as well as an additional $12.5 million local match from the school. 

In other exciting news, Ameren Illinois – the region’s leading electric and gas delivery company – recently broke ground on a $10.2 million solar energy facility in East St. Louis. The 2.5-megawatt East St. Louis Solar Energy Center is going up on 17 acres that Ameren owns next to East St. Louis Senior High School in the 4600 block of State Street and will produce enough electricity to power 500 homes. The power-generation facility is also expected to, in part, become a learning center for the area students to become familiar with solar power and potential future jobs. Ameren Illinois also is investing $8.2 million in Madison County projects to replace the vintage steel pipeline and natural gas services with modern, corrosion-resistant polyethylene material. These upgrades will ensure the continued safe, reliable delivery of natural gas today while preparing to meet future needs of the company’s natural gas customers. 

Finally, we're thrilled to be making final preparations for our Annual Dinner, which will be held on Tuesday, April 19 at the Regency in O’Fallon. Limited tickets still remain, and anyone who his hoping to attend should contact our office as soon as possible to purchase their tickets. You can reach us at 618-692-9745 or

Read on for more on all the other good news happening in Southwestern Illinois and have a great rest of your week! 

Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson, MPA
Executive Director and CEO
Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois
104 Magnolia Drive, Ste B
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Developer buys land, starts construction on $70M Metro East shopping center
(St. Louis Business Journal, 03/23/2022)
A St. Louis County developer has purchased the land and started construction on a $70 million Metro East retail development, while expanding its real estate footprint with another 14 acres next to the site. (Read More)

Governor marks $37.5 million in rehab planned for LCCC’s historic buildings
(Illinois Business Journal, 03/15/2022) 
Gov. JB Pritzker joined leaders from Lewis and Clark Community College on Monday to announce upcoming renovations to five historic buildings located on the school’s campus. (Read More)

Ameren breaks ground on $10.2 million solar project in East St. Louis
(Illinois Business Journal, 03/01/2022) 
Ameren Illinois officials gathered Tuesday morning with state and local leaders to formally break ground on a $10.2 million solar energy facility in East St. Louis(Read More)

Tennessee developer eyes Metro East after success with St. Charles County apartments
(St. Louis Business Journal, 03/01/2022) 
A Tennessee-based multifamily developer has nearly fully leased a newly built apartment complex that is its first in the St. Louis region, and the company now is working on another in Metro East. (Read More)

IMPACT Strategies Completes Construction on Rehabilitation Institute of Southern Illinois
(St. Louis Construction News and review, 03/08/2022) 
IMPACT Strategies has completed construction on the new The Rehabilitation Institute of Southern Illinois, a one-story, 40-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital on Frank Scott Parkway in Shiloh, Illinois. (Read More)

$8.2M in natural gas upgrades coming to Madison County
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 03/03/2022) 
Ameren Illinois is investing $8.2 million in projects to replace the vintage steel pipeline and natural gas services with modern, corrosion-resistant polyethylene material. (Read More)

Madison County approves $3.86 million sale of property along Plum Street
(Illinois Business Journal, 03/17/2022) 
Officials approved a $3.86 million sale of Madison County land Wednesday night to a St. Louis developer. (Read More)

Belleville District 201’s vocational career center is starting to take shape
(St. Louis Public Radio, 03/26/2022) 
Just a few weeks into construction, the former Kings Point property in Belleville is nearly unrecognizable. (Read More)

DraftKings at Casino Queen to debut ‘state-of-the-art’ sportsbook
(Illinois Business Journal, 03/24/2022) 
DraftKings and CQ Holding Company Inc. will officially unveil a new 6,000-square-foot state-of-the-art permanent retail sportsbook on Tuesday, March 29, at DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis. (Read More)

MidAmerica sees growth as continuing 
(Illinois Business Journal, March 2022 Issue, Page 1) 
MidAmerica St. Louis Airport’s impact and growth both continue upward, says a consultant hired to look at the future of the facility. (Read More)

Name of NASCAR race unveiled at World Wide Technology Raceway
(Illinois Business Journal, 03/14/2022) 
With less than 100 days until the green flag waves at the start of the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway on June 5, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announce the race’s official name: “Enjoy Illinois 300,” sponsored by the Illinois Office of Tourism. (Read More)

St. Louis restauranteur plans to add 2 locations in Metro East
(St. Louis Business Journal, 03/09/2022) 
So Hospitality Group, owned and operated by entrepreneur and chef Munsok So, will expand two of its restaurant concepts to Edwardsville by early 2023. (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
West Star Aviation acquired by private equity firm, The Sterling Group
(Illinois Business Journal, 03/02/2022) 
West Star Aviation, the largest operation at St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton, has been acquired by The Sterling Group, a middle market private equity firm, from the previous investor, Norwest Equity Partners, a middle market investment firm. (Read More)

Cruise port development would aid Southwestern Illinois tourism, bureau head says
(Illinois Business Journal, 03/13/2022) 
Cruise port development and high-speed rail are critical to the success of tourism and community development in Southwest Illinois, Cory Jobe, president/CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau told an Illinois Senate Committee. (Read More)

River project could protect places like Grafton from serious flooding
(The Advantage News, 03/14/2022) 
The Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative has partnered with Ducks Unlimited to create what they think may be a solution to some of the flooding problems encountered in recent years in this area. (Read More)

AltonWorks finalizing plans to open food park
(Illinois Business Journal, 03/22/2022) 
Supporters hope to make a big impression when they open Alton’s new food truck park, Flock, which is scheduled to officially debut in early May. (Read More)

East Alton using COVID funds to complete road project
(The Advantage News, 03/16/2022) 
The village of East Alton is using COVID Relief Funds to help offset the costs of a roadwork project in the village. (Read More)

Gerber Park plan approved at city council
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 03/16/2022) 
Edwardsville City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to approve a Spencer Homes plan for Gerber Park. Aldermen Chris Farrar and SJ Morrison voted against the proposal. (Read More)

Six communities in inaugural Accelerate Illinois broadband program
(Illinois Business Journal, March 2022 Issue, Page 1) 
The historic village of Elsah is one of six communities selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of the Accelerate Illinois Broadband Infrastructure Planning Program. (Read More)

Helmkamp building new operations center for Illinois American
(Illinois Business Journal, March 2022 Issue, Page 5)
East Alton-based Helmkamp Construction has begun construction of Illinois American Water’s new operations center in Jerseyville. (Read More)

Durbin: Lock and dam upgrades a ‘game changer’ for Illinois farmers
(Illinois Business Journal, March 2022 Issue, Page 10)
If farming is a school of patience, then securing federal funding for the agriculture industry is, too. (Read More)

Kaskaskia’s Workforce Equity Initiative opens student opportunities
(Illinois Business Journal, March 2022 Issue, Page 11)
Kaskaskia College’s Workforce Equity Initiative continues to help minority students excel and complete their certificates in 10 different programs with the Serving with An Equity Lens (SEALs) program. (Read More)

Much has changed as Madison County reaches another milestone
(Illinois Business Journal, March 2022 Issue, Page 10)
The year 1962 was a good one for Madison County. Business was booming. Construction was everywhere. (Read More)

Local commuters looking at public transit options 
(Advantage News, 03/17/2022) 
With fuel prices the highest they’ve been since 20008, more and more people are looking into public transportation to get to work. (Read More)

New turf field ready for action at Gordon Moore Park 
(Advantage News, 03/11/2022) 
Lloyd Hopkins Field at Alton’s Gordon Moore Park has been completely redone, with a brand-new turf playing surface installed just in time for baseball season. Work on the project wrapped up last Friday. It’s a more than $900,000 project. (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: