April 20, 2018
More good news is rolling in this week from all over the region. A cover story in the St. Louis Business Journal helps to provide more insight into the potential impact of the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed with the Port of Plaquemines in Louisiana by St. Louis Regional Freightway and all four ports in the bi-state region. The agreement aims to establish a new transportation link for container transport vessel shipments along the Mississippi River.

The Illinois Business Journal takes a look back at the "East County" marketing campaign, launched by the Leadership Council 25 years ago, to help promote Southwestern Illinois as a great place to live, work and do business, kicking off a period of dramatic growth across the Metro East.

The local dining scene continues to heat up with announcements that Collinsville residents can look forward to a new Microbrewery and Craft Distillery, while those in O'Fallon may soon catch a whiff of barbecue coming from the popular Sugarfire Smoke House. And, the much anticipated Hofbrauhaus in Belleville opens this month, thanks in part to TIFs and other incentives aimed at revitalizing that part of the community and supporting private investment. TIF incentives are part of several other stories in this week's edition of Good Newslink with leaders from Shiloh, Fairview Heights, Belleville, Alton and Columbia all touting the benefits of TIFs in advancing projects in their individual communities. 

See below to read those stories and more and have a great week!

Ronda Sauget, D. Mgmt, MBA
Executive Director
Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois

Illinois American Water agrees to buy Alton's regional wastewater system
(Illinois Business Journal, 14 April 2018)
Illinois American Water agreed on Friday to buy Alton's regional wastewater system, and approval will now be sought from the state.  The total value of the proposed transaction is approximately $53.8 million, subject to certain adjustments provided in the agreement. (Read More )

Rep. Rodney Davis announces Madison County Mass Transit District awarded federal grant
(RiverBender.com, 2 April 2018)
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today announced that the Madison County Mass Transit District (MCT) has been awarded a Department of Transportation grant to purchase new buses.  Through the Buses and Bus Facilities grant, MCT will receive $3.6 million to purchase new CNG buses to replace older buses that have exceeded their useful life. These new buses will help improve the transit service throughout Madison County. ( Read More )

Wood River Township, county officials break ground on bike trail
(The Telegraph, 3 April 2018)
After about eight years, ground was finally broken for a two-mile bicycle trail near Kutter Park in Wood River Township, and officials hope that when work is completed in August it will spur additional trails in the area.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday morning at the park entrance off of North Center Street in Cottage Hills. (Read More)

25 years later, 'East County' didn't last, but area's development focus continues
(Illinois Business Journal, 1 April 2018)
Twenty-five years ago, a group of Southwestern Illinois supporters pursued a novel idea. Wanting to draw attention to the area as a destination to live, work and do business, they came up with a marketing campaign that essentially adopted a new name for the Metro East. ( Read More)

Southwest Illinois Trade Council announces trade mission to Mexico
(Illinois Business Journal, 6 April 2018)
A nonprofit organization actively assisting Metro East companies in exporting invites area businesses to travel on a customized trade mission to Mexico.   The Southwest Illinois Trade & Investment Council welcomes existing and future exporters here to participate in "Discover Mexico," a five-day outbound trade mission to Mexico City and surrounding industrialized areas. (Read More)

Holland Construction Services, Fairview Heights Recreational Complex
(Illinois Business Journal, 7 April 2018)
Swansea-based Holland Construction Services is managing construction of the Fairview Heights Recreational Complex. The firm broke ground in October 2017 for the $17 million facility that will benefit city residents of all ages. ( Read More)

Contegra Construction Co., The Reserve, Edwardsville
(Illinois Business Journal, 7 April 2018)
Construction is progressing on a new $27 million student housing project to meet the growing demand for premium off-campus living space close to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Contegra Construction Company of Edwardsville broke ground in November 2017 and the project is scheduled for completion in July 2019. ( Read More )

Plocher Construction Co., Sugarfire Smoke House, O'Fallon
(Illinois Business Journal, 7 April 2018)
Plocher Construction Co. Inc., of Highland, is helping bring Sugarfire Smoke House to the Metro East. The barbecue franchise specializes in smoked brisket, pulled pork and ribs, and is known for desserts made in-house. The Sugarfire franchise has locations in and around St. Louis and the O'Fallon location is its first in Illinois. (Read More)

IMPACT Strategies, Ameren Illinois Operating Facility, East St. Louis
(Illinois Business Journal, 7 April 2018)
IMPACT Strategies Inc., of Fairview Heights, recently completed renovations of the Ameren Illinois operating facility in East St. Louis. The 29,000-square-foot, two-story building is approximately 60 years old. It was completely gutted and remodeled with a new design provided by St. Louis architects Burns & McDonnell. The project for the utility company began in May 2017 and wrapped up in December. ( Read More)

Korte & Luitjohan, New Microbrewery and Craft Distillery, Collinsville
(Illinois Buisiness Journal, 7 April 2018)
Korte & Luitjohan is working with owners Derik and Whitney Reiser to turn the former Collinsville Herald building in Collinsville into a microbrewery and craft distillery.  The $2.8 million design-build construction project is scheduled for completion by the end of this summer. (Read More)

Alton Square Mall undergoing metamorphosis with help of TIF and special business district
(Illinois Business Journal, 7 April 2018)
The city of Alton is in the process of creating its third tax increment finance district. The goal of this one is to renovate the Alton Square Mall property at Homer Adams Parkway and Alby Street. 
The mall, which was originally developed in 1979, was acquired by Hull Property Group, a Georgia-based retail real estate company, in 2015. Hull specializes in renovating and revitalizing declining regional malls. It owns and manages approximately 25 shopping centers across the country. ( Read More )

Belleville TIFs revitalize West Main, amp up Downtown and bring Hofbrauhaus to town
(Illinois Business Journal, 7 April 2018)
The city of Belleville is using tax increment financing to catalyze a 170-acre development on Illinois Route 15, revitalize West Main Street and bring more residents and businesses downtown.  The long-awaited Hofbrauhaus is set for its grand opening this month complete with visitors from Munich. The city used a combination of a TIF district, a special business district and an Enterprise Zone to extended infrastructure to the site; open it up for development; and support the private investment.  (Read More)

Columbia Main Street Abbey being developed with help of TIF and special business district
(Illinois Business Journal, 7 April 2018)
The city of Columbia is utilizing tax increment financing and a special business district to assist the redevelopment of the Immaculate Conception Church and school into the Main Street Abbey. The church dates back to the 1860s. (Read More )

Fairview Heights using TIF to maintain 'retail hub of Southern Illinois' status
(Illinois Business Journal, 7 April 2018)
The city of Fairview Heights has been the "retail hub of Southern Illinois" for almost 50 years and city leaders want to keep it that way.  The typical urban development pattern, said Paul Ellis, the city's director of economic development, has been that an area would get hot, attract development, then get old and tired, leaving behind vacancies and deterioration. City leaders might then attempt to redevelop and revitalize the area with more or less success. (Read More)

Shiloh uses TIF to remove development barriers, position village for growth
(Illinois Business Journal, 7 April 2018)
Over the last 16 years, the village of Shiloh has established four TIF districts, each of them aimed at solving problems, removing barriers to development and positioning the community for growth. 
TIF A is its oldest district. Created in 2002, it was established to enable the development of the Green Mount Crossing shopping center at the intersection of Green Mount Road and Frank Scott Parkway. ( Read More)

Scott Air Force Base to be site of Transition Summit and hiring fair
(Illinois Business Journal, 12 April 2018)
A Scott Air Force Base Transition Summit and hiring fair will take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, April 30, at the Scott Event Center on base.  The day, which intends to assist members transitioning from the military, begins with a LinkedIn workshop, then goes to a transition panel, lunch, industry overview and a mock interview and resume review. It concludes with a hiring fair at 2 p.m. (Read More)

Cedarhurst of Bethalto celebrates grand opening
(Riverbender, 6 April, 2018)
Cedarhurst Assisted Living and Memory Care celebrated their grand opening at 903 North Moreland Road in Bethalto Thursday afternoon.  Stacey Loveland, Executive Director of Cedarhurst, said although the location has been open for a few months before the celebration their already 44 percent full. (Read More)

Leveling the playing field for all young people
(Belleville News-Democrat, 8 March 2018)
By Jesse Dixon - We reflect as education professionals on how we can do more to close the pervasive opportunity gaps locally and nationally. Barack Obama once said: "In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education. Study after study has shown that the foundation for a "world-class education" and a child's success starts before a child begins kindergarten. But in an era of tight budgets and where 70 percent of pre-kindergarten aged children don't attend a licensed preschool, how do we ensure a level playing field for all young people? (Read More)

Leadership Council offers 2018 professional development series
(Illinois Business Journal, 29 March 2018)
The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois Education Committee is preparing for its 2018 Leadership Series, a way for individuals to enhance their potential through professional development. 
The series is open to anyone who wants to learn from experienced professionals and will be held at Southern Illinois Builders Association in O'Fallon, Ill., from 8 to 11 a.m. on the following dates: ( Read More)

Group floats multiport plan to boost local economy by $30 million
(St. Louis Business Journal, 5 April 2018)
When Mary Lamie heard of a Louisiana port's plan last year to revolutionize container shipping on the Mississippi River, she jumped in to make sure St. Louis was part of the plan.  Lamie, the St. Louis Regional Freightway's executive director, reached out to Jefferson County Port Authority's Neal Breitweiser to develop a multimillion-dollar cargo hub in Herculaneum. The new port would be the northernmost terminal on the Mississippi that would be able to handle new "super vessels" that can carry 2,500 containers and travel at twice the speed of traditional barges. ( Read More )