November 15, 2021


The clocks may have turned back an hour this month, but moving forward are a series of multi-million-dollar investments and projects planned or underway in communities throughout Southwestern Illinois that we're excited to share with you in this lengthy edition of Good NewsLink. 

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently announced plans for $36 million in upgrades to widen Interstate-64 to three lanes along a nearly three-mile stretch through O’Fallon and Shiloh. In addition to the extra lane, the upgrades will include wider shoulders, interchange improvements, bridge work and more. The I-64 Improvement Project is being processed in three phases each expected to take about 24 months to complete with construction set to wrap by 2027. 

In other development news, Contegra Construction Co. has completed the third distribution center at NorthPoint Development’s Gateway Tradeport in Pontoon Beach, Ill. The company is now building a one million-square-foot facility at the development that will be the largest speculative distribution center in the St. Louis area. With the completion of the 624,000-square-foot Gateway Tradeport III, the 600-acre Gateway Tradeport is now home to more than 1.7 million square feet of distribution space, all of which was built by Contegra. Building IV is slated for completion in 2022. In Edwardsville, work is also well underway on the $20 million, 50,000-square-foot addition to Anderson Healthcare’s Goshen Campus.

Continue reading for links to more of what's making headlines in the Metro East and have a great weekend!

Leadership Council Staff

IDOT planning $36 million upgrade to I-64 to boost development in St. Clair County 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 11/4/2021) 
The Illinois Department of Transportation announced plans to widen Interstate-64 to three lanes along a nearly three-mile stretch through O’Fallon and Shiloh. (Read More)

Here’s how Belleville expects to spend its $15.79M in federal COVID relief 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 11/8/2021) 
Belleville plans to use most of the $15.79 million in federal aid granted to the city through the COVID relief bill to treat wastewater before releasing it into Richland Creek. (Read More)

Contegra Construction Co. Completes New Distribution Center in Pontoon Beach, Ill. 
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 11/3/2021)
Contegra Construction Co. has finished building its third large distribution center at Northpoint Development’s Gateway Tradeport in Pontoon Beach, Ill. (Read More)

Anderson Healthcare progressing on new addition to Goshen Campus
(Illinois Business Journal, November 2021 Issue, Page 8)
Work is well underway on a 50,000-square-foot addition to the medical building on the Goshen Campus of Anderson Hospital. (Read More)

Southwestern Illinois will see boon from NASCAR scheduling 
(Illinois Business Journal, 11/9/2021) 
World Wide Technology Raceway’s reputation has been on a fast track in recent years, and landing in NASCAR’s winner’s circle is expected to speed things up. (Read More)

High Speed Rail Alliance praises plan laid out for Midwest network
(Illinois Business Journal, November 2021 Issue, Page 13)
The High Speed Rail Alliance is praising the Midwest Regional Rail Plan released by the Federal Railroad administration, saying it provides a framework building a network of fast, frequent and affordable trains throughout the region. (Read More)

SIUE biofuel research center to expand lab capabilities with $1.9M state grant 
(St. Louis Business Journal, 10/22/2021) 
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has been awarded $1.9 million in state funding to expand lab capabilities at its National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC). (Read More)

MCT opens new Eastgate Park & Ride Facility 
(Illinois Business Journal, 10/30/2021) 
A new parking facility serving one of the local transit system’s busiest routes opened for business this week. (Read More)

Next Transit Stop Transformation Project Set For The Belleville Transit Center 
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 11/3/2021) 
On the heels of the recent opening of the “Transit Stop Transformation” Project at Emerson Transit Center in East St. Louis, Ill., where the concrete area between the bus bays and MetroLink entrance were converted into an interactive, playful, engaging space – Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) and AARP in St. Louis today announced that the Belleville Transit Center will be the location of its next transformation project. (Read More)

Jerseyville prepares big plans for parks 
(Alton Telegraph, 11/4/2021) 
Major upgrades have been announced for Jerseyville’s existing parks and recreation areas as part of its Historic City Center District development. (Read More)
Making Spirits Bright in the Metro East
WonderLight’s Christmas at World Wide Technology Raceway
World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois will welcome the largest holiday light show fully synchronized to music in the St. Louis area starting November 12 through January 9, 2022. Families will listen to a mix of traditional Christmas favorites as well as songs by contemporary artists on their car’s radio as they navigate the display route, which follows the recently-expanded 2.0-mile road course at WWTR. WonderLight's Christmas will be open from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. on weekends, including holidays. Guests are required to purchase tickets online in advance, and you can reserve yours today by clicking the link below!
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
Building Blocks Of Success: IDOT To Host Series Of Workshops For Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program 
(RiverBender, 11/1/2021) 
The Illinois Department of Transportation will host a series of free virtual workshops, called Building Blocks of Success, for firms interested in participating in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, strengthening their skills, and bidding on state projects. (Read More)

Veterans can get free assistance establishing a business
(Illinois Business Journal, November 2021 Issue, Page 1)
Veterans Day is a good time to remember the many contributions military members have made to this country – and to the livelihoods those vets carve out after patriotic service. (Read More)

O’Fallon council discusses public works & Veterans Day event, honors retiring chief 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 11/2/2021) 
Grant allocations are making two public works projects happen in O’Fallon: A bike trail along Ogles Creek and resurfacing of East State Street and the Old Vincennes Trail. (Read More)

Madison County Board considers $28 million budget increase without property tax hike 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 11/5/2021) 
Madison County board members are set to vote on a proposed $171 million budget roughly $28 million higher than last year’s plan. (Read More)

Heartlands Conservancy to develop bike trail plan for Wood River 
(Advantage News, 11/2/2021) 
The Wood River City Council on Monday green-lighted an agreement with Heartlands Conservancy to develop a bike trail master plan for the city. (Read More)

Illinois’ first hazardous waste disposal site south of Chicago to open in Madison County 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 11/6/2021) 
Metro-east residents will have access to a new household hazardous waste collection site, the first of its type south of Chicago’s collar counties. (Read More)

Illinois EPA launches energy efficiency grant program for co-ops, municipalities 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 11/9/2021)
In an effort to provide incentives for energy efficiency projects in municipal and co-op electric territories, the Illinois EPA has established a new grant program. (Read More)

Plane speaking: Family marks 100 years at milling firm
(Illinois Business Journal, November 2021 Issue, Page 1)
Back in 1921, the operators of Mechanics Planning Mill in Edwardsville could hardly be blamed if they failed to see the forest for the trees. No one could predict that one of their own employees would emerge to lead the company through the Great Depression and, with family help, for decades to come. (Read More)

Redevelopment agreement for Alton food truck park 
(Advantage News, 10/26/2021) 
AltonWorks is continuing its work to bring a revitalization to Alton, and another piece of the puzzle got the blessing of the Alton City Council Committee of the Whole at Monday's meeting. (Read More)
Check out our Education Newsletter
SWIL Education Workforce Connection
In April we published the first edition of the SWIL Education Workforce Connection newsletter. This is our monthly outreach to the Education and Business communities. As the name implies, the purpose is to connect stakeholders in the world of education with stakeholders in the world of business. Click on the link below to sign up, or email Dr. Bruce McLaughlin at

Check us out!
Thank you to the Leadership Council's Program Sponsors: