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June 6, 2011



After the temperatures this weekend, there's no escaping the fact that summer is officially here, and as you'll see in this edition of the Metro East NewsLink, Southwestern Illinois continues to be a hotspot for all sorts of new investments. This edition spotlights a major milestone in the levee improvement initiative and recaps coverage about more than $50 million in roadwork set to get underway in our region and enhancements coming in the educational sector and more.

We'll continue to spread the good news as the summer unfolds, so be sure to keep us in the loop if you hear of any major projects and/or developments that we need to report. 


Have a great week!





Alton School Board approves $7.51 million bond sale (The Alton Telegraph 5/17/11)


Alton school officials last month approved the sale of $7.51 million in non-interest bonds, which will go toward paying for $12 million in planned renovations at four Alton district schools. The Telegraph reports the Alton School Board also plans to sell an additional $2.39 million of Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, and $2.1 million in conventional bonds early next year to fully fund the planned improvements. The work is expected to begin in early summer. (Read more) 



Lindenwood plans $5 million in upgrades (Belleville News-Democrat 5/17/11)


Lindenwood University will spend $5 million on its Belleville campus in the next year to revamp its stadium, create space for several new academic programs and improve safety. About $2.3 million of the investment will go toward the stadium renovation in anticipation of the university adding a football team as soon as the fall of 2012. In addition to the stadium work, the Belleville News-Democrat reports that Lindenwood will renovate the classrooms and backstage area of the auditorium building to accommodate a planned bachelor's degree program in theater. New laboratories will be built in the main building's annex. Remaining capital improvement plans call for added office space and for the installation of security cameras and Code Blue stations across campus. (Read more) 


O'Fallon approves plans for 2 restaurants (Belleville News-Democrat 5/17/11)


O'Fallon City officials recently approved plans that will enhance the dining options in the city. The plans call for an updated Taco Bell on the site of the company's current location on West Highway 50 and for a new barbecue-based restaurant, the American Grill, on Seibert Road just outside the main gate of Scott Air Force Base. (Read more)  


Collinsville School Board Oks $1.3 million for artificial turf (Belleville News-Democrat 5/18/11)


The Kahoks football and soccer field soon will be covered with synthetic turf and receive other upgrades according to recent reports in the Belleville News-Democrat. The Collinsville School Board approved spending $1.3 million for improvements at Collinsville High School, which in addition to the turf will also include the addition of new bleachers, an upgraded public address system, scoreboard and fencing. (Read more)




Metro East $160 million levee plan advances (St. Louis Business Journal 5/20/11)


The Flood Prevention District Council has accepted the "30% design" and cost estimate for the Metro East levee improvement project. The action took place during the FPD Council's May board meeting, where the consulting engineers gave an overview of the plan and the costs to implement it, and the Council's financial advisors prvoided the Council with current revenue estimates indicating that the organization will have sufficient funds to pay for the project. Les Sterman, chief supervisor of construction and the works for the FPD Council, noted that this is the first official cost estimate for the project, and it puts the full project costs at about $160 million (including contingency and inflation). The Council's financial advisors' latest modeling suggests that about $161 million can be raised through the sales tax, which means the project is affordable, assuming no major delays or cost increases beyond what is currently expected. (Read more)





State seeks bids for $55m of roadwork related to new Mississippi bridge (Belleville News-Democrat 5/20/11)



The Illinois Department of Transportation announced the bid letting of four contracts worth $55 million related to the new Mississippi River Bridge. They include a $4.5 million contract for lighting for the entire bridge project; a $35 million contract to build a new bridge and retaining walls on relocated Interstate 70 from Second Street, in East St. Louis, to I-55/70; a $9.5 million contract to grade and drain the road on relocated I-70 from First Street in East St. Louis to Industrial Drive and a $6.5 million contract for a new bridge and embankment on relocated I-70 over First Street. The new span carries a projected total price tag of $670 million and is set for completion by early 2014. (Read more)



Factories add 197,000 jobs, reviving manufacturing (St. Louis Post-Dispatch 5/29/11)


After experiencing more than a decade of stagnant growth, the manufacturing industry is on the rebound. In just this past year, U.S. factories have hired 197,000 workers, and the St. Louis region has added 3,400 manufacturing jobs with a majority of them in Metro East operations like U.S. Steel - Granite City Works and ConocoPhillips Wood River. The gains can be attributed, in part, to the return of domestic manufacturing. (Read more)





Contact Information

Patrick McKeehan

Executive Director

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois


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