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June 20, 2011



Positive development stories continued to roll in over the past couple of weeks as local media outlets reported on a range of public and private projects that are moving forward or have recently been completed. Also capturing the media's attention was the announcement of a new name and logo for Tri-City Regional Port District, which has become a significant economic engine for our region in recent years. We look forward to hearing more about continued growth at the newly rebranded America's Central Port in the years to come. Other good news this past week focused on the release of the drafted levee improvement plan by the Flood Prevention District Council.  We welcome this latest milestone since having a plan in place is an essential ingredient in helping businesses and citizens prepare for the future, restoring investor confidence in the area and assuring taxpayers that their money is being spent effectively.

Details on these stories and several others are included below. Be sure to keep us in the loop if you've got good news to report.

Have a great week!




Ziemer Group affiliate to renovate downtown Alton building for $1.5 million (St. Louis Post-Dispatch 6/3/2011)

An affiliate of Ziemer Group, a Swiss company that manufactures and markets leading-edge ophthalmic diagnostic and surgical products, is planning a $1.5 million renovation to transform a vacant, 50-year-old office building in Alton into its new U.S. headquarters. The building has about 24,000 square feet of interior space. Ziemer completed purchase of the building from Cornerstone Bank on May 25. Alton City Council approved city assistance of $300,000 in tax increment financing money for the project. The work is expected to be finished later this year. (Read More)


Alton Target to see $900,000 in renovations (The Telegraph 6/5/2011)

The Target store in Alton is expected to undergo significant renovations starting July 11. The $900,000 upgrade project will accommodate the company's shift toward offering more fresh food, as it is doing in several St. Louis area locations. The Alton store layout will resemble those in Kirkwood, South St. Louis County, Bridgeton and Arnold. The renovations in Alton will create an "open-market" layout with fresh produce, including seasonal fruit; bagged lettuce; freshly packaged meats, such as ground beef, chicken and pork; and prepackaged baked goods. (Read More)


WellSpring opens new $7 million facility (The Telegraph 6/5/2011)

WellSpring Resources, formerly known as Community Counseling Center, has opened at its new location, 2615 Edwards St. in Alton. The Alton Telegraph reports that the new $7 million facility was one of the first projects in Southern Illinois to take advantage of the federal New Markets Tax Credits, and also one of the first in Illinois to access the Illinois New Markets Tax Credit Program. The organization invested $2.5 million of its own equity, as well as received assistance from Madison County government with a first-of-its-kind HUD 108 loan for the project. The larger facility will allow the organization to offer more services to the community, such as counseling, psychiatric and medical services, substance abuse counseling and medication-assisted recovery. Construction of the new 36,000-square-foot facility began in July 2009 and was completed this month. (Read More)


Belleville's $44 million sewer upgrades 20 percent complete (Belleville News-Democrat 6/6/11)

A $44 million EPA-mandated sewer plant upgrade project in Belleville is now 20 percent complete. The project, which started last fall behind the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds, is updating the plant and separating the sanitary sewers from the rainwater drainage. The city was able to borrow the money for the project at favorable rates and has secured a $5 million grant and might get another. The Belleville News-Democrat reports the initial project is scheduled to be complete by spring 2013, at which time another $44 million 2nd phase will start and take up to 10 additional years to finish. (Read More)


Fairview will help fund $7.5 million sewer project that would connect 300 households (Belleville News-Democrat 6/8/2011)

The Fairview Heights City Council agreed in early June that the city will help finance a project that would connect about 300 households to a sewer system. While details have yet to be finalized, it is estimated Fairview will pay $85,000 per fiscal year for 20 years, or $1.7 million, to the Caseyville Township Sewer District for the sewer extension. Twenty-five percent of the $7.5 million project is also being paid with an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency forgivable loan and federal stimulus money. The project would bring service to neighborhoods near Holy Cross Road and St. Clair Avenue, which currently use cesspools, aeration units or septic tanks. (Read More) 


Port District gets new name (The Alton Telegraph 6/13/2011)

Officials of the Tri-City Regional Port District recently unveiled a new name and logo for the facility: "America's Central Port." The new name reflects the port's function and central location in the Midwest, where it is just a two-day drive from nearly 70 percent of the population and 62 percent of U.S. business. The port district combines several modes of transportation, including road, rail, air and inland waterway. The port estimates it has added $300 million worth of economic activity to the region in the past five years and is planning for future growth with the development of a new south harbor. (Read More)


$161 million, 5-year plan released for levee fixes (Belleville News-Democrat 6/16/2011)

The Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District Council last week released its draft plan detailing how the agency expects to upgrade the Metro East levees and pay for their repairs. The five-year project will cost almost $161 million to bring levee systems in Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties to the 100-year flood standard. The council's levee repair plan calls for a complex system of new berms, relief wells, cutoff walls and clay caps for the levees at Wood River, Chain of Rocks, East St. Louis, Prairie Du Pont and Fish Lake. The biggest price tag -- almost $60 million -- is for improvements for the Metro East Sanitary District levees near East St. Louis. (Read More)


Glen Carbon approves $25.5 million Sam's Club proposal (Belleville News-Democrat 6/16/2011)

Glen Carbon village trustees have given the green light for St. Louis-based THF Realty to develop a $25.5 million warehouse retail building on 14 acres along Illinois 159. The project will take shape on property formerly occupied by Goshen Do-It Center and Four Flags Motors. Under the agreement, the Belleville News Democrat reports, the developer will receive half of the village's share of the sales tax revenue on the development until it reaches $5.95 million. The Sam's Club is expected to provide an additional $375,000 per year in new sales tax and an additional $37,650 per year in new real estate taxes to the village, benefiting District 7 schools and more. After the bonds are paid off, the total sales tax benefiting the village would grow to an estimated $750,000 per year. (Read More)





Contact Information

Patrick McKeehan

Executive Director

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois


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