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September 17, 2012

Greetings ~


This latest edition of NewsLink features more than a dozen articles that continue to chronicle positive developments underway in the Metro East. From the release of the findings of a new study showcasing the significant economic impact of our airports, to the work progressing on several multi-million-dollar projects in Belleville and Edwardsville, there's no shortage of good news to share. Read on for more on these, as well as for updates on which institutions of learning are capturing grants and national attention and which communities are investing in infrastructure improvements and other sustainable initiatives. 


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Study: MidAmerica, St. Louis Downtown Airports a Boost to Economy (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/8/2012)


According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, MidAmerica and St. Louis Downtown airports claimed spots among the top five airports in Illinois for economic contributions. The Illinois Department of Transportation's Division of Aeronautics conducted the "snap-shot" study chronicling the economic benefits of the state's aviation industry. The findings were shared at the Leadership Council's  September board meeting. MidAmerica/Scott Air Force Base came in at number three, and the St. Louis Downtown Airport landed at number five. Collectively, the state's aviation industry brings $40.9 billion into the state's economy. The joint-use MidAmerica Airport boasts 42,000 direct and indirect jobs with a $1.5 billion payroll and total economic impact of $2.5 billion. The St. Louis Downtown Airport is responsible for 3,370 direct and indirect jobs with a payroll of $151 million.The airport accommodates charter flights including professional sports teams traveling to and from the St. Louis area. It is also the home of the oldest flight school in the nation, the St. Louis University's Park College. The St. Louis Regional Airport in Bethalto accounts for 709 direct and indirect jobs, with an accumulative payroll of $31.3 million. (Read More)  


Work Resumes on $37.8 Million Crime Lab after Month-long Delay (The Belleville News-Democrat, 9/3/2012) 


Work on the Illinois State Police Metro East Forensic Science Laboratory project will resume after a short delay last month. The new lab is expected to be completed in October of 2013, very close to the original completion projection time. According to the Belleville News-Democrat, contractors were forced to temporarily halt construction until they could agree on how to connect the steal infrastructure in a way that could withstand earthquakes. The Metro East is affected by two seismic zones, the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. Work was scheduled to resume after Labor Day on the 64,000-squar-foot facility at West Main and 23rd streets next to Lindenwood University. The lab will be outfitted for testing for crime scene services, trace and drug chemistry, polygraph, latent prints, firearms, forensic biology and DNA. (Read More)


Contegra Doing $20 Million Project in Madison County (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/7/2012)  


According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Leadership Council member Contegra Construction will be responsible for the construction services for another project at Gateway Commerce Center, this one a  $20 million project to add an additional 482,000 square-feet to the Westway 1 warehouse distribution center. The warehouse was originally built in 2007, and the new construction will expand the facility to a total of 964,000 square feet under 32-Foot ceilings. (Read More)


What's in the Plan for Improvements to Belleville's North Illinois Street? (The Belleville News-Democrat, 9/2/2012)


After a three-year hiatus, a project to improve public safety and beautify North Illinois and Main streets in Belleville is once again in the works. The Belleville News-Democrat reports the project has many goals, among which are to widen the intersection of Illinois 159 and F Street, block off West G Street and East E Street with decorative landscaping, and give a facelift to North Illinois Street, from A Street to the Richland Creek Greenway Trail. It is estimated that the project will cost more than $4.1 million, of which 25% of the project will be funded by the city, and the federal government will be responsible for funding the remaining 75% through grants. The city plans to spend this winter on land acquisitions and begin construction in the spring of 2013. (Read More)  


Alton Boosts Goals for Reducing Energy Use (The Alton Telegraph, 9/5/2012)


In 2008, the City of Alton became the first town in the Metro East to sign on as a "Cool City." The initial goal was to reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions, and that now has been expanded to include additional environmental goals. According to The Alton Telegraph, Mayor Tom Hoechst signed the Illinois Cool Cities Local Sustainability Protection Agreement 2015 Goals after getting unanimous approval from Alton aldermen. Alton already is taking part in municipal electricity aggregation, has developed a Climate Action Plan and helped educate residents on energy-saving methods at home. The city also created a website to deliver updates on energy-saving accomplishments. For more information, visit (Read More) 


Lewis and Clark Receives YouthBuild Grant (The Edwardsville Intelligencer, 9/5/2012)


According to The Edwa rdsville Intelligencer, Lewis and Clark Community College will receive a $1.1 million YouthBuild Grant. The YouBuild program helps out-of-school youths receive pre-apprenticeship  certification training and GEDs, while helping them prepare for careers in fields such as health care, construction, welding or technology. The article notes the program will affect 64 students over the next two years, targeting individuals who would not normally pursue further education. YouthBuild entails a three-week orientation followed by a 10 to 12-month training period. (Read More) 


Dialysis Center Plans Relocation to O'Fallon (The Belleville News-Democrat, 9/10/2012)


A Fairview Heights dialysis center has requested state approval to relocate near the proposed site of St. Elizabeth's new hospital in O'Fallon. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that RAI Care Centers of Illinois hopes to build a $3.5 million replacement end stage renal dialysis (ESRD) facility south of the proposed $300 million, 144-bed hospital. The future medical park would be called the Fresenius Medical Care Regency Park and would employ 22 people. All 89 current patients are expected to relocate to the new dialysis facility, along with 38 new patients that are expected to start treatment within the first two years of the O'Fallon location's opening. (Read More  


Road Project Moves Forward (The Edwardsville Intelligencer, 9/10/2012)


According to the Edwardsville Intelligencer, the Maryville Village Board approved a $1,028,739 proposal for the construction of a roundabout at the dog-leg intersection of Lake View Acres Road, Old Troy Road and Route 162. Currently, the site has heavy traffic and frequent accidents. The state will pay $770,000, and the county will cover $250,000 of the projected costs. Work on the roundabout may begin as early as the end of September. (Read More) 


McKendree, SIUE Lauded by Annual University Rankings (The Belleville News-Democrat, 9/12/2012)

 McKendree Logo

According to the Belleville News-Democrat, institutions of higher learning in the Metro East continue to garner national recognition. McKendree University in Lebanon ranked highly in several categories in the U.S. News & World Report's 2013  Best College edition. The school placed fifth among Midwestern Universities in the "bang for your buck" category, and also landed in the top 25% SIUE Cougars of all 625 participating institutions in the nationwide Regional Universities category. Forbes Magazine named McKendree to its Top 100 College Buys list, and G.I. Jobs magazine has also recognized the university as a top "military friendly" school. SIUE made the U.S. News & World Report list at number 11 among public regional Midwestern universities. Last month, Washington Monthly place  d SIUE among the top 50 master's universities in the country. Back in March, SIUE was also honored when the Corporation for National and Community Service named the institution to the annual President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. (Read More) 


New Art and Design Building is Nearing Completion at SIUE (The St. Louis Post Dispatch, 9/14/2012)


According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a new $15.3 million Art and Design Building is scheduled to be completed at SIUE in about a month. This new LEED Silver certified building will accommodate students and staff more easily than their current facilities. The new space will contain over 11,000 square feet of classroom space, an art gallery, graduate studio space, and a 96-seat auditorium, along with green features such as restored native prairie grasses and landscaping, floor-to-ceiling windows made up of high performance glass, a reflective roof and a point-of-use ventilation system. The building features stained concrete floors for easy cleanup of paints and solvents, along with plywood walls to accommodate the hanging of artwork. Students can expect to begin classes in the new building in the spring of 2013.  (Read More)


SIU Awards $6 Million in Contracts for New Dental School Lab (The St. Louis Business Journal, 9/14/2012)


The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees approved $6 million for a new multidiscipline laboratory at the SIU School of Dental Medicine's Alton campus. The St. Louis Business Journal reports that the majority of the project will be paid for by a $4.1 million grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, University Plant funds, donated funds, and equipment use fees. (Read More)  


District 160 Refinances Bonds, Millstadt Taxpayers Benefit (The Belleville News-Democrat, 9/3/2012)


District 160's superintendent announced that Millstadt-area homeowners with homes valued at $150,000 can expect their taxes to be about $50 less in 2012. The reduction is possible because of a recent refinancing of the bonds used to pay for the construction of the Millstadt Primary Center. (Read More  



In Other News



Guest Commentary: Five Years in, Cooperation Remains Key to Recertification of Metro East Levees (The St. Louis Post Dispatch, 9/52012)


August marked the five-year anniversary of FEMA's announcement, to the surprise of many, that it no longer considered the Metro East levees protecting the American Bottom flood plain to be effectively providing protection at the 100-year flood level. This latest commentary by Leadership Council President Rich Conner provides a concise summary of the accomplishments to date as many area businesses, civic organizations, community leaders and concerned citizens have been diligently working together to help prevent impacted businesses and residents from having to obtain mandatory flood insurance or obey new elevation standards for building construction when new flood maps become final. It also highlights the ongoing efforts of The Levee Issues Alliance, which is currently working closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Flood Prevention District Council to reach consensus on a viable, affordable plan for the levees that will satisfy the FEMA 100-year protection standard. (Read More) 





Contact Information

Ellen Krohne

 Executive Director

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois



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