July 25 , 2018

We had no shortage of good news for this edition of the Good NewsLink with a couple of major infrastructure developments leading the headlines in recent weeks. Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis has executed a $172 million construction contract for the replacement of the Merchants Rail Bridge over the Mississippi River, the region's #1 infrastructure priority and a project that the Leadership Council has been actively supporting and advocating for in recent years.

Phase two of the East St. Louis' Riverfront re-development is now complete after a $17 million heavy roadway and water line replacement. Funded by three levels of government and numerous private industry partners, the finished project supports major industry currently operating on the riverfront and opens up more than 200 acres for commercial and industrial development.  More good news has emerged for  America's Central Port in Granite City, which has been granted $2.27 million by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration. The funds will be used to build a new rail spur and repair and renovate two buildings for industrial use to attract new tenants. 

The Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois also reports that the housing market in the Metro East is as hot as the recent summer temperatures, with the number of homes sold in the area continuing to be on the rise!

The Leadership Council is pleased to have welcomed Lt. Gen. Lee Levy to the Metro East this past week. He took time during his visit to chat with the Belleville News-Democrat about his role in managing logistics for the entire United States Air Force.  Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson also visited Scott Air Force Base this past Friday to meet with Air Mobility Command, and among the topics discussed was the issue of reciprocity for licensure for family members. You can learn more below. Closing out our SAFB news, today, July 25th, we  were proud to host a breakfast reception for Lt. Gen. Giovanni K. Tuck, Commander, 18th Air Force, Scott Air Force Base.

Continue reading for more on these and all the other good news occurring in the Metro East and have a great rest of the week!
Ronda Sauget, D. Mgmt, MBA
Executive Director
Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois
Terminal Railroad signs agreements for replacement of Merchants Bridge
(Illinois Business Journal, 7/11/2018)
The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis has executed a $172 million construction contract for the rebuilding of the company's Merchants Bridge, including its three main spans and the east approach spanning the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Mo., and Venice, Ill. (Read More)

Ground broken on long-awaited $35 million Edwardsville Town Center
(Illinois Business Journal, 7/5/2018)
Plocher Construction Co. Inc. has broken ground on Edwardsville Town Center. The new $35 million, mixed-use development located at the intersection of Governors' Parkway and Illinois Route 157 in Edwardsville, is going up on the former Madison Mutual Insurance Co. headquarters site, an area that local officials have wanted to see developed for some time. (Read More)

Public-Private Partnership Rebuilds East St. Louis Riverfront for More Development
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 7/12/2018)
A two-phase, $17 million heavy roadway and water line replacement project along the East St. Louis riverfront is complete, opening up and equipping more than 200 acres for commercial and industrial development.The project - funded by three levels of government and numerous private industry partners under the direction of St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern - has transformed what was a badly deteriorated span of roadways into infrastructure that can now easily carry trucks including those bound for agricultural giant Cargill in East St. Louis and Fairmount City-based Bunge-SCF Grain. (Read More) 

Madison County to start repairs of parking lot and jail restoration next week
(Illinois Business Journal, 7/12/2018)
EDWARDSVILLE - Repairs and improvements totaling more than $13.5 million are set to start next week at the Madison County Jail, Courthouse and Administration Building. As work gets underway the projects would affect parking for both the public and county employee, Director of Facilities Rob Schmidt said. (Read More)

City officials tout incentive program as Highland approves plat for first new subdivision in 10 years
(Belleville News-Democrat, 6/27/2018)
The Highland City Council has taken the first steps to approve the city's first new subdivision in a decade.
"We haven't had one in 10 years," said City Manager Mark Latham.  On May 21, the council approved an annexation agreement with landowner Carl Mersinger and Jason Mettler of Mettler Development, a development company in Highland. (Read More)
Welding a need: College's new workforce center to make August debut
(Illinois Business Journal, June 2018 Issue)
One contractor recalls Ed Weber as the only laborer he ever knew who came to work each day with the Wall Street Journal tucked under his arm.  Weber lived a frugal life, but he had a penchant for picking stocks. His last years were spent with an older sister in a small house in Hartford surrounded by refineries.  "He never saw an oil stock he didn't like," Dr. Dale Chapman said. (Read More) 

Health - and its costs - served by senior wellness center expansion
(Illinois Business Journal, June 2018 Issue)
Senior Services Plus in Alton is building a 10,000-square-foot Wellness Center expansion that will serve the area's growing base of aging citizens by helping them ward off the onset of inertia - and the costs that go with it.
A successful, ongoing fundraising campaign called Pathways to Wellness led to ground-breaking in May at the rear of the senior center at 2603 N. Rodgers Ave., Alton.  (Read More)

'High-end' apartments in Shiloh should be ready to rent by fall
(Belleville News-Democrat, 6/28/2018)
A little more than six months after the completion of a controversial approval process, construction is underway on a new multi-family housing project in Shiloh, with plans to have the first of nine apartment buildings ready for lease by November.  The $26 million development dubbed "Thirteen01 at Hartman Lakes" was approved in December, despite the objections of neighbors. (Read More)

America's Central Port gets $2.27 million federal grant
(Advantage News, 7/6/2018)
The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration is awarding $4.37 million in grants to Illinois to support growth of the industrial sector, including $2.27 million for America's Central Port in Granite City. "Modernizing infrastructure is one of the best routes to attracting and keeping businesses in a community," U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said. "These projects will support locally led initiatives designed to grow Illinois' economy and improve the business environment." (Read More)

Granite City, Highland projects approved for $1 million in HOME funds
(Alton Telegraph, 7/10/2018)
EDWARDSVILLE - Housing developments in Granite City and Highland were recently approved for approximately $1 million in federal HOME funds, administered by Madison County Community Development. T he action came at Monday's Grants Committee meeting. Also approved was a resolution expanding the Gateway Commerce Center Enterprise Zone to include three acres in Pontoon Beach for the development of a new hotel. (Read More)

Here's five things you need to know about the new VA Clinic in Shiloh
(Belleville News-Democrat, 6/29/2018)
It's been over a year in the making, but the new St. Clair County Veterans Affairs Clinic opens Monday to serve metro-east and Southern Illinois veterans.  Here's five things you need to know:  It replaces the one in Belleville
The new Shiloh facility, located at 1190 Fortune Blvd., is replacing the west Belleville VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, which is no longer serving veteran patients. (Read More)

Construction company will soon break ground on new headquarters in Breese
(Belleville News-Democrat, 7/2/2018)
BREESE - An area construction company will soon break ground on a new corporate headquarters and warehouse slated to open next summer.  Breese-based Poettker Construction Company will break ground next week for their new 39,400 square-foot building just south of the company's current headquarters on Germantown Road. Company President Keith Poettker said the groundbreaking comes in its 38th year of business. (Read More)

Ever wonder who repairs Air Force planes? Here's a Q&A with the guy in charge.
(Belleville News-Democrat, 7/20/2018)
Think of the NASCAR pit stop workers who rapidly repair race cars, but replace the cars with military planes.
Then think about where the tires, parts and equipment to repair those planes comes from, add it all together, and you'll begin to understand what the Air Force Sustainment Center does. Nearly 43,000 airmen make up the center under the command of Lt. Gen. Lee Levy II. Levy, 55, oversees the airmen, a $16 billion annual budget and $26 billion in assets. (Read More)

Midwest Cyber Center hosts AFA CyberCamp in Partnership with McKendree University
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 7/11/2018)
Scott Air Force Base, IL - Midwest Cyber Center was one of the distinguished organizations across the United States selected to participate in the fourth season of the Air Force Association's (AFA) CyberCamp Program this summer.  As an AFA CyberCamp host, MC² received software and a hands-on curriculum kit designed to teach students cyber safety, cyber ethics, and critical network security skills and tools. (Read More)

West Star Aviation Receives Brazilian Approval For East Alton, IL (ALN) Facility Through 2020
(Weststaraviation.com, 7/10/2018)
West Star Aviation is pleased to announce that the Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC), the Brazilian civil aviation authority, has approved West Star's East Alton (ALN) facility to work on Brazilian registered aircraft through 2020.  This approval is the latest addition to a growing list of authorizations which have allowed West Star to expand business worldwide. West Star will now offer full-service maintenance, installation, inspections and repairs on Brazilian registered aircraft beginning June 2018. (Read More)

Funding released for agriculture programs
(Riverbender.com, 6/27/2018)
LITCHFIELD - Funding for the Department of Agriculture programs was just released according to State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond). She announced that $16M in agriculture grants will fund soil & water districts, county fairs and agriculture societies, and the University of Illinois Extension services. (Read More)

Housing market, like summer, hot in Metro East
(Illinois Business Journal, 6/30/2018)
SHILOH - The housing market in the Metro-East is as hot as the recent temps, according to the latest housing data released by the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois.  The number of homes sold in much of the Metro East has increased again in May. Home sales in St. Clair increased by 13.4 percent in May 2018, while Madison County saw a rise of 6.3 percent compared to May 2017. Realtors in Montgomery County reported a 61.9 percent increase in homes this May compared to May of last year. (Read More)

Air Force will try a program to retain pilots amid an ongoing shortage
(Belleville News-Democrat, 7/250/2018)
Scott Air Force Base - Facing a shortage of air crews, the U.S. Air Force announced a test program it hopes would allow the service to retain pilots.  Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson discussed the program during a visit to Scott Air Force Base on Friday to meet with Air Mobility Command.  "We're looking at retention, as well as producing more pilots," Wilson said. "It's better if you retain." (Read More)

Illinois American Water investing over $5.6 million in Metro East to replace miles of water main
(Illinois Business Journal, 7/3/2018)
Illinois American Water's Interurban (Metro East) District is investing over $5.6 million to upgrade its water service distribution system. The investment includes replacing and installing over six miles of water main across the southern Illinois service area including Belleville, East St. Louis and Granite City. (Read More) 

Solarize Metro East reaches solar energy milestone, makes solar easy and affordable
(Riverbender.com, 7/2/2018)
GLEN CARBON - Don McQueen, a Village of Glen Carbon homeowner, will soon get some of his electricity from the sun and will be paying less on his monthly electric bill. He was the first among a growing group of property owners in the Metro East to join the Solarize Metro East program. The program builds on the success of last year's Solarize Madison County, where nearly 500 individuals attended free solar education sessions and 40 property owners added around 300 kW of solar to their properties in 2017. (Read More)

Water-service contracts in Metro East among those acquired by Veolia North America
(Illinois Business Journal, 7/10/2018)
Seven Illinois water-service contracts are among those that have been sold by American Water Works Company Inc. as part of a newly announced, $27 million deal with Veolia North America.  Veolia announced Monday that it has acquired from American Water Works the rights to 23 of its water treatment and energy service contracts. The transaction will expand the core municipal water business of Veolia, which is among the largest providers of water and wastewater treatment services in the U.S. and Canada, and will see Veolia welcome 110 new employees to its North American operations. 

Environmental trust supports Granite City air quality project
(Advantage News, 7/7/2018)
GRANITE CITY | United States Steel Corp. and Gateway Energy & Coke Co., in cooperation with the American Bottoms Conservancy and the Sierra Club, award $391,000 to the city of Granite City for its Reforestation Project.
As part of a settlement in March 2008, U.S. Steel and Gateway Energy & Coke created an environmental trust in support of local efforts to promote better air quality and energy efficiency. (Read More)

Illinois to get $16M in federal money for community service
(Alton Telegraph, 7/9/2018)
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Sixteen community service programs in Illinois will receive more than $16 million dollars in federal funding. The federal Corporation for National and Community Service is distributing $11.6 million to help more than 900 AmeriCorps members conduct community projects and pay college costs and student loans after completing their service. (Read More)