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July 18, 2011



The number of new restaurants, entertainment complexes and retail establishments making news in the past couple of weeks seem to indicate that commercial investment activity may be starting to rebound in the Metro East. Add to that positive developments regarding job growth in both Madison and St. Clair counties, more expansion plans by area hospitals, millions of dollars coming to area schools, and more, and it's clear there is no shortage of good news to share as our summer rolls on.


Stay cool this week!






Multi-use entertainment complex opening late fall in Edwardsville (Edwardsville Intelligencer 6/24/2011)) 

Edwardsville is getting closer to housing a new, state-of-the-art entertainment facility that will include a 12 lane bowling alley, arcade, 3,700-sqaure-foot laser tag arena, restaurant and more. Scheduled for a fall 2011 opening, Edison's will be located off Illinois 157 near Sunset Hills Country Club and will offer a high-end bowling experience. Patrons can be waited on for food and beverages at coffee tables and leather couches down by the lanes at the bowling alley, which will offer black lights, fog and other effects at night. The complex will also offer projection screens for customers to watch sports games. (Read More )


Two Ill. tourism bureaus merge, now cover 19 counties (St. Louis Business Journal 7/5/2011


The Tourism Bureau Southwestern Illinois and the Southeastern Illinois Convention and Visitors Bureau have merged to become the Tourism Bureau ILLINOISouth. This is the first tourism bureau merger in Illinois, creating the largest bureau in the state. It represents almost 9,000 square miles and includes 19 counties, including: Bond, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edwards, Fayette, Jasper, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Perry, Randolph, Richland, St. Clair, Wabash, Washington, Wayne and White. In 2009, these counties had over $940 million in visitor expenditures. The new bureau will be headed by Jo Kathmann, long-time president and CEO of the Southwestern Illinois bureau. (Read More ).


Edwardsville OKs special tax district for historic neighborhood improvements (Belleville News-Democrat 7/6/2011)


Edwardsville City Council approved a plan to create a new taxing district in the historic St. Louis Street neighborhood in order to help fund an $800,000 street improvement project. The Belleville News-Democrat reports most of the home owners are in favor of the project, which will bury power lines and install 22 new street lights. The city itself will pay $100,000 for the street lights, and $200,000 more is expected to be covered by private donations and grants. The city will sell bonds that will be paid off in over 30 years by the homeowners in order to fund the remaining $500,000. Each homeowner will pay taxes between $175 and $1,600 per year, depending on each property's estimated assessed value. (Read More )


Metro-east school districts receive over $26 million in Title I aid (Belleville News-Democrat 7/6/2011)


Several metro-east school districts have received Title I funds through the U.S. Department of Education, the Belleville News-Democrat reports. The funds provide financial assistance to school districts for services that improve the teaching and learning of children at risk of not meeting challenging academic achievement standards. The top three schools receiving the most aid are East St. Louis School District 189 with over $9 million, Cahokia Community Unit School District 187 with more than $3.5 million and Alton Community Unit School District 11 with almost $2.5 million. (To view the complete list of schools, Click here.


Belleville hospitals look east for growth (St. Louis Post-Dispatch 7/7/2011)


On the heels of Memorial Hospital in Belleville's announcement that it plans to build a $118 million, 94-bed hospital in Shiloh, Hospital Sisters Health System, which operates St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville, is also looking to buy a 105-acre property in O'Fallon, near I-64. St. Elizabeth's is not expected to completely relocate to the proposed O'Fallon location, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports all options are being considered. (Read More ).


St. Charles and Madison County lead metro area in job growth (St. Louis Post-Dispatch 7/7/2011)


The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages from the fourth quarter of 2010 showed that St. Charles County led the metro area with job growth of 2.3 percent, with Madison County close behind at 2.1 percent. St. Louis and St. Louis County continued to lose jobs last year, while St. Clair County added just 0.1 percent to its job base, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (Read More ).


 $50 million in Granite City development pipeline (Suburban Journals 7/8/2011)


Several projects ranging from retail development to new restaurants to factory renovations are expected to take shape in Granite City this year, totaling more than $50 million in commercial and industrial construction. The Suburban Journals report that among the projects contributing to the total are $13 million to improve plant efficiency and space to increase Prairie Farm's factory's workforce to 125, scheduled to finish December 2012; over $10 million to expand Wal-Mart into a supercenter, expected to be complete in August; and $6.9 million for construction of 43 new energy efficient apartments at Granite City Commons, expected to be complete December or January. (Read More ).



Court upholds Illinois construction bill funded by video poker (Chicago Tribune 7/11/2011)



The Illinois Supreme Court has backed the constitutionality of a $31 billion state construction program partly funded by video poker.Unofficially known as "Illinois Jobs Now!, the program was designed to raise funds for bricks-and-mortar projects involving schools, roads and sewers across the state. The court's ruling prevented Illinois from being forced to refund hundreds of millions of dollars. (Read More ).    



New restaurant center coming to O'Fallon (O'Fallon Progress 7/12/2011)


Three new restaurants are expected to break ground next month on Green Mount Road, near the Regency Conference Center in O'Fallon. The new venues include the Metro East's first Egg and I, an egg-based restaurant, an 8,000 square foot Bella Milano, which will be larger than its Edwardsville location, and Global Brew, which also has a popular location in Edwardsville and serves over 200 different types of beer. While Global Brew won't serve food, patrons will be able to bring their own or purchase carry out food from the nearby restaurants and take it to Global Brew to eat. All three of establishments will have patio space. (Read More ).


Contact Information

Patrick McKeehan

Executive Director

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois


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