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November 5, 2012

Greetings ~


During the past couple of weeks the Metro East has celebrated key milestones on a range of transportation projects that have been in the news. We just learned North Bay Produce will receive its first air shipments of produce at its facility at MidAmerica Airport this Saturday, while $25 million in state funds committed to the new "connector" project, and the openings of a new segment of I-255 in northern Madison County and 17th Street in Belleville, are making it easier to get around today and paving the way for future growth in our region. Other good news came in the form of grants to support quality of life improvements at the Granite City Library and a host of parks throughout St. Clair County. Expansions at Chestnut Health Systems and Andy's Auto Body and Car Repair, and planned shopping center renovations in Fairview Heights, round out this robust edition of NewsLink. 


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North Bay Produce at MidAmerica airport to get first air shipment Nov. 10 (St. Louis Business Journal, Nov. 5, 2012)

North Bay Logo The $5.7 million North Bay Produce facility at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport will receive its first international air shipment of produce this Saturday, Nov. 10. While ground shipments from around North America have been processed at the facility since July, the arrival of the 42-ton shipment of berries marks the beginning of air cargo movements through MidAmerica on the trade lane between the Americas and Asia. MidAmerica St. Louis Airport also will see the return of passenger service this week as Allegiant Airlines begins offering round trip service to and from Orlando, Fla., beginning Nov. 7. (Read More)

Gov. Pat Quinn Announces $25 Million Investment for Poplar Street Bridge and Martin Luther King Connector Project (, October 22, 2012)


According to, the state of Illinois plans on investing $25 million in the Poplar Street Bridge and Martin Luther King Connector project. The project aims to reduce congestion on Interstates 70/64/55, and promote economic development in the Metro East by allowing more bridge access from both sides of the river. The connector project is part of the $667 million New Mississippi River Bridge project, expected to be completed in early 2014. After the New Mississippi River Bridge is open to traffic, reconstruction of the Poplar Street West interchange will begin, replacing the I-55 single lane with two lanes. Updates will also be made to the westbound Memorial Drive. (Read More) 


Illinois 255 Segment Opens (The Alton Telegraph, October 26, 2012)


The new section of Illinois 255, which opened on October 26, will save motorists time, money and gas. The $22 million in funds approved by the Illinois General Assembly made the completion of the highway segment between Seminary Road and Humbert Road in Godfrey, Ill., possible. The final stretch of Illinois 255 will connect the highway to the "Godfrey Y" and is expected to be finished by the end of November. According to the Alton Telegraph, funds are in place to complete Illinois 255 and connect it to U.S. 67. The project will create 285 construction jobs and tie in with Alton's plans to build an intra-modal transportation hub in the city. (Read More) 


Mayor: Opening of 17th Street is 'big day for Belleville' (The Belleville News Democrat, October 15, 2012)


The newly finished 17th Street is expected to promote growth along the Illinois 15 shopping corridor. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the $10.2 million extension that connects drivers from West Main Street to Frank Scott Parkway West. The project overcame a variety of obstacles before being completed through a four-phase process spanning over six years. The new road will ease congestion, improve safety, and increase accessibility to shopping in the area.  (Read More) 


Granite City Library Receives $2.2 Million Grant for Renovation (The St. Louis Post Dispatch, October 24, 2012)


According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Six Mile Regional Library District has received a $2.2 million challenge grant from the Illinois State Library to renovate its 83-year-old main library in Granite City. The district director is confident that raising the $1.7 million in matching money needed to receive the grant will not be a problem. The total cost of the restoration is estimated to be $3.9 million. Construction is expected to begin in the spring and includes updates to wiring, furnaces, air conditioners, an expanded computer area, and updating a lift installed in 1985. The project will take approximately nine months to complete once it is started, and the district plans to continue to offer library services downtown during construction. (Read More) 


Chestnut doubles size of local headquarters with $5.4 million addition (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 25, 2012)


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Chestnut Health Systems, a mental and substance abuse treatment center, spent $5.4 million to double the size of its building in Granite City to 70,000 square feet. The center was originally established in 1993, and since then it has grown, having gone through many mergers with other nonprofits and having added numerous programs. Updates to the headquarters facility includes offices for human resources, accounting and facility management, along with space for treatment, outpatient chemical dependency and mental health program and a 24-hour call center, a 16-bed crisis stabilization program and a training program. The center officially opened on Oct. 26, and since the expansion, clients are now able to walk in without an appointment, and physician care is also available. The capacity for the onsite training program surged from 25 to 30 people to approximately 120 people. (Read More)


Metro-east communities will get $460,000 in grants for park projects (The Belleville News-Democrat, October 29, 2012)


A total of $460,000 in grants has been set aside for 20 communities in the Metro East from the St. Clair County Parks Grants Commission. According to the Belleville News-Democrat, $25,000 grants for park projects will be given to the communities of Alorton, Belleville, Centreville, East St. Louis, Fairview Heights, Fayetteville, Freeburg, Marissa, O'Fallon, Shiloh, Smithton, St. Libory and Sugar Loaf Township. New Athens, Swansea, Dupo, Lebanon, Mascoutah, Millstadt, St. Clair Township and Summerfield will also receive grants but for a lesser amount. (Read More)


Andy's expanding to Alton Square (The Alton Telegraph, October 16, 2012)


Andy's Auto Body and Car Care is gearing up to open its forth location in the Metro East. The company has already signed a five-year lease with another five-year option to occupy the space previously occupied by Sears Tire and Auto at Alton Square Mall. The 10,000-square-foot building will give the business ample room to provide a NAPA Auto Super Center as well. The grand opening is taking place on Nov. 10 with a host of festivities planned, including the NHRA NAPA race car on display, a racing simulator, an all-day barbecue and prize drawings. The new facility will be equipped with a computerized 60-inch big-screen menu board that will double as a teaching aid. Andy's hopes to hold monthly open houses to explain car maintenance in layman's terms. The new facility also plans to run shuttles service to the mall and to other retail stores in the area, or to the home and office. Andy's has already hired six new staff members for the new location and plans to add more staff once the new location has been established. (Read More


Kmart shopping center coming down in Fairview -- what's going up? (The Belleville News Democrat, October 16, 2012)


The Belleville News-Democrat reported that the Fairview Heights City Council approved plans to demolish the Kmart shopping center, located at the northwest corner of Illinois 159 and Lincoln Trail, and replace it with a newly designed center. Portions of the building date back to the 1960's. Petco and Office Max are expected to remain as tenants of the redeveloped shopping center, while King's Beauty/ Solomon Trading plans to relocate to Market Plaza in Fairview Heights. Construction is expected to begin next year, with an official opening in the spring of 2014. (Read More) 




In Other News



Staunton trucking business to add jobs with county help (The Alton Telegraph, October 18, 2012)


TDS Transportation in Staunton will receive $60,000 from Macoupin County's Revolving Loan Fund. County board officials recently approved the funds, which will immediately create 14 new jobs and eventually as many as 50 new jobs. According to the Alton Telegraph, TDS Transportation specializes as a first responder with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security following natural disasters. (Read More) 



Contact Information

Ellen Krohne

 Executive Director

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois



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