March 1, 2016 

Ronda Sauget

This Good NewsLink edition highlights several stories about Leadership Council members who are stepping up and taking action to address critical business issues, being recognized for successful economic development efforts, and uniting our region for overall growth strategies!  

Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dustan led a regional delegation of elected officials, union representatives, and related economic development professionals to Washington D.C. to address the ongoing concerns related to the idling of U.S. Steel's Granite City Works facility and the nation's steel industry challenges with unfair foreign product dumping in U.S. markets. Chairman Dunstan and his team met with the U.S. Commerce Department to voice their collective concerns about anti-foreign product dumping tariff law enforcement process. The local delegation also met with U.S. Congressman Pete Visclosky, an Indiana congressman, who is considered one of the strongest supporters of the steel industry in D.C. and serves as the vice chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus. By all accounts, this effort certainly raised awareness of this very serious situation and addressed regional concerns about these critical issues as well as concerns about the employee layoffs to date and planned in the future.
Also, in this week's addition, more articles and op-eds about the relocation of the proposed $1.6B NGA West facility appeared. The St. Louis Regional Chamber recognized local business and organizations for making the region better. For example, America's Central Port and SIUE's Eugene Redmond Learning Center was recognized in their respective categories for outstanding work! Congratulations to the winners and all of the nominated finalists in each of the respective categories.   
This edition also features a significant number of economic development activities ranging from St. Clair County enhancement efforts on Front Street in East St. Louis to TriStar Properties two new spec buildings being announced at Gateway Commerce Center. Further, the new Memorial Hospital East is planning its grand opening on April 12, 2016, for this $124M hospital facility employing 673 workers. Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation completed two significant health center upgrades, including $2.4M expansion and renovation at SIHF's Centreville Health Center and a $600,000 renovation of a new Charleston Health Center location in Charleston, Illinois. Associated Bank celebrated a $750,000 major remodeling project of its branch location at 326 Missouri Avenue in East St. Louis, IL. To help Madison County small businesses and entrepreneurs, Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan also announced the county will join forces with Justine Petersen to create microloan program to enable future economic development activities.  
Please read this edition to see how many of our Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois Board Members are leading the way in regional, domestic, and global expansion and growth strategies.

 Well done!

Executive Director
Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois
Madison County delegation meets with federal officials on steel plant
(Illinois Business Journal, 2/23/16)
A delegation led by Madison County Chairman Alan Dunstan to address the idling of U.S. Steel's Granite City facility and the nation's steel industry met this morning in Washington, D.C. with U.S. Congressman Pete Visclosky, an Indiana congressman. Visclosky is vice chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus. He is considered one of the strongest supporters of the steel industry on The Hill. The delegation is seeking ways to work in support of Visclosky's efforts.
(Read More)
Leaders call for enforcement of law to protect manufacturers
(Advantage News, 2/23/16)
The steel industry has been hit hard in recent years. Domestic steel mills idled their total production capacity due to exports of cheap steel from China that created an oversupply of steel in U.S. markets. 
(Read More)
Crews continue work on relief wells
(The Alton Telegraph, 2/23/16) 
Crews continue using heavy equipment to haul in large chunks of limestone and to dig near River Heritage Parkway (Illinois Route 143) to further protect the adjacent levee's integrity.
(Read More)
NGA isn't supposed to be urban renewal program
(Belleville News-Democrat, 2/27/16)
Sen. Mark Kirk said it best, "The NGA is not an urban renewal program!" 
(Read More)
St. Louis Regional Chamber announces Arcus award winners
(St. Louis Post Dispatch, 2/26/2016)
The St. Louis Regional Chamber recognized local businesses and organizations for making the region a better place to live, work and invest. Recipients of this year's Arcus Awards are:
(Read More) 
SIUE's Eugene Redmond Learning Center wins People's Choice Award
America's Central Port District wins award for achievement in logistics
(Read More)
Illinois American Water, Missouri American Water named Arcus Award finalists for Drug Take-Back
(Riverbender, 2/24/2016)
Illinois American Water and Missouri American Water have been honored as finalists for  the St. Louis Regional Chamber's Ameren Corporate Citizenship Arcus Award for demonstrating exceptional commitment to enhancing the quality of life in the St. Louis region.
(Read More)
St. Clair County looks to take control of Front Street in East St. Louis
(Belleville News-Democrat, 2/24/16) 
Having jurisdiction of road required as part of state, federal assistance. County looks to add left turn lane along Scott-Troy Road near church. County Board to vote on proposals later this month. St. Clair. County is preparing to take over jurisdiction of Front Street in East St. Louis.
(Read More)
TriStar Properties launches two more spec buildings at Gateway Commerce Center in Edwardsville
(Illinois Business Journal, 2/22/2016) 
TriStar Properties has begun development of two more speculative distribution centers initially totaling 1.13 million square feet on the eastern side of Gateway Commerce Center in Edwardsville.
(Read More)

More spec buildings underway at Gateway Commerce
(St. Louis Post Dispatch, 2/17/16)
TriStar Properties is building again at Gateway Commerce Center, where work is underway on two distribution centers with more than 1 million square feet.
(Read More)

360-degree video gives virtual tour of new Memorial Hospital East
(Belleville News-Democrat, 2/16/2016) 
Highlights: See above, below and around inside $124 million hospital, get inside tour few can currently enjoy, hospital with 94 beds, 673 workers opens April 12.  A special camera allows you to take a 360-degree video tour of the $124 million Memorial Hospital East in Shiloh ahead of the April 10 open house or the April 12 grand opening.
(Read More)
Renovations Complete at Two Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation Facilities
(St. Louis CNR, 2/25/2016)
Construction-management firm, IMPACT Strategies, today announced it has completed two major renovation projects for Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation (SIHF). 
(Read More)
Belleville District 118 approves tax abatement
(Belleville News Democrat, 2/16/2016)
A balance in the debt service fund and tort liability fund mean Belleville District 118 can offer taxpayers a bit of a break on their property tax bills.
(Read More)

Microloans available for Madison County businesses
(Advantage News, 2/19/2016)
Madison County Board Chairman Alan J. Dunstan announced the county has joined forces with Justine Petersen to create a microloan program for small businesses and entrepreneurs in Madison County.  
(Read More)
St. Louis goes all in on NGA
(St. Louis Business Journal, 2/19/2016)
St. Louis and the state of Missouri are prepared to spend $130 million to keep the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
(Read More)
Packaging can't fix North St. Louis
(Belleville News-Democrat, 2/26/16)
$7M in fancy packaging needed to sell North St. Louis site
(Read More)
Metro East Area News Briefs
(Chronicle Illinois, 2/10/2016)
NGA to top $1.6 billion. Development of the federal government's new National Geospacial Intelligence Agency (NGA) west headquarters (NGANEXTWEST) will total some $1.6 billion, according to documents reviewed by the Missouri Legislature last month as St. Louis political and business leaders launched a last-ditch effort to keep the high tech spy agency in the city. 
(Read More)
Metro East Area News Briefs
(Illinois Chronicles, 2/17/2016)
The population of Edwardsville has increased 25 percent since 2000 and the rapid growth is likely to continue, according to the Edwardsville Business Forecast, presented Feb. 4 at the Wildey Theatre. Median household income on the city is now $70,000 - $13,000 above the state average of $57,000. Some 5,000 new jobs have been created in the town over the past 10 years, according to speakers. 
(Read More)
Science Olympiad at SIUE boasts increased participation, student success
(Riverbender, 2/16/2016) 
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville was abuzz on Saturday, Feb. 13, as more than 450 students from 21 area schools demonstrated their advanced science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills at the annual Science Olympiad regional tournament.
(Read More)

How has controversial $200K Belleville TIF fared for Ruler Foods?
(Belleville News Democrat, 2/13/2016)
Three years ago, Mayor Mark Eckert cast a rare tie-breaking vote after aldermen voted 7-7 on whether to give $200,000 in TIF funds to Ruler Foods to demolish the vacant Bel-Air Bowl and build a new store on North Belt West.
(Read More)
Associated Bank marks grand reopening of East St. Louis branch
(Illinois Business Journal, 2/19/2016) 
Associated Bank on Thursday celebrated what it calls a continuing commitment to the East St. Louis community with an event marking the completion of a major remodeling of its branch at 326 Missouri Ave.
(Read More)
Marriott announces new 90-room hotel in Edwardsville
(Belleville News Democrat, 2/18/2016)
A 90-room extended-stay hotel will be built along Illinois 157 near Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
(Read More)
National Monument status sought for Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
(Illinois Chronicle, 2/17/2016)  
"Connecting ancient and today's communities" is a key concept for the Mascoutah-based Heartlands Conservancy, which is hoping to convince Congress to designate the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site near Collinsville as a National Historical Park.
(Read More)
Smithton native aims to help menopausal women with Wicked Sheets invention
(Belleville News Democrat, 2/25/2016)
Alli Truttmann, a Smithton native, will rub elbows with Hollywood celebrities this weekend.
(Read More)
SIUE's East St. Louis Center builds 'talent pipeline' by fostering skills
(Chronicles Illinois, 1/28/2016) 
"Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" sounds like the title of a popular tome on the shelves of college bookstores - which, in fact, it is.  However, it also describes a key concept in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's (SIUE) East St. Louis Center (ESLC) initiative to transform one of the nation's most distressed areas.
(Read More)
Partners for Pets, a no-kill shelter, builds new home near Troy
(Belleville News-Democrat, 2/20/2016)
When Lisa McCormick walked into an animal shelter about 17 years ago, she was glad she was able to adopt a couple of cats but she went home disheartened.
(Read More)

Construction of third fire station in progress
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 2/27/16)  
Filling in for Edwardsville Fire Chief Rick Welle at Monday's Public Safety meeting, Capt. James Whiteford had plenty of updates for the aldermen.  
Retail Roundup: Belleville rehabber turns glut of furniture into west end business
(Belleville News Democrat, 2/21/2016)
In her years rehabbing homes in Belleville's west end, Kelly Arnold has collected a bunch of furniture.
(Read More)
Aulabout Autos to provide one-stop shop for everything auto, "Driving smiles to everyone"
(Riverbender, 2/19/2016)
Newlyweds Kyle and Jessica Aulabaugh are making dreams come true not only for themselves, but for others in our community as well.
(Read More)

SIUE grad celebrates business expansion with RunWell Grand Opening Feb. 27
(Riverbender, 2/26/2016)
For Southern Illinois University Edwardsville graduate and small business owner Jen Schaller, it has always been about sharing her passion for running. Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity 
(Read More)

SIUE boasts state-of-the-art amenities in expanded weight room
(Illinois Business Journal, 2/8/2016)
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has enhanced its Student Fitness Center by doubling the size of its free weight room to 7,000 square feet to feature state-of-the-art equipment and amenities.
(Read More)
Port chief: Region should showcase its infrastructure assets
(Belleville News-Democrat, 2/21/2016) 
America's Central Port, the sprawling 1,200-acre multimodal industrial and business campus that sits within the cities of Granite City, Madison and Venice, has a lot going for it.
(Read More)

A weekly message from Mayor Gary Graham
(Belleville News-Democrat, 2/29/2016)
This spring, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) will choose where to relocate its western headquarters.
Phoenix rising
(Advantage News, 2/21/2016)
When it comes to physical fitness, upgrades and tune-ups are sometimes a necessity.
(Read More)

New Mineral Springs owner has big plans
(The Alton Telegraph, 2/17/2016)
Mineral Springs Mall has a new owner who says he is planning on rejuvenating the former hotel and spa that dates back to 1914.
(Read More)

JCBA hosts open house ribbon cutting ceremony at The Jerseyville Estates, Feb. 18
(Riverbender, 2/18/2016) 
The Jersey County Business Association hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at The Jerseyville Estates yesterday, Feb. 17, in celebration of their recent expansion.
(Read More)
Mobile merchandise
(Advantage News, 2/28/16)
On Site T-Shirts and More artwork by Darrel Shimchick of BD Sports for On Site's opening weekend of business at the River's Edge Sports Complex Baseball tournament over Valentine's Day weekend. Shimchick is a graphic designer for On Site.
Video gaming revenues continue to grow
(The Alton Telegraph, 2/27/16) 
Riverbend communities collected increased revenue from video gaming in 2015, but an addiction counseling organization says the revenue comes with a social cost.
(Read More)
Business roundup
(The Alton Telegraph, 2/23/16) 
An artisan bakery will be the newest addition to the Jacoby Arts Center, says Brian Runge, a local chef who is spearheading the project.
(Read More)
Video gaming cafes planned throughout metro-east, coming soon
(Belleville News-Democrat, 2/29/16)
A partnership that operates five video gambling cafes in central Illinois is working toward opening at least four additional sites in the metro-east.
(Read More)
Zapata's makes the most of move to Fairview Heights
(Belleville News-Democrat, 2/26/2016)
Several people have felt the need to tell Courtney Zapata that other restaurants in the anchor space at Winchester Plaza have gone out of business.
(Read More)
Retail Roundup: Expansion planned for popular restaurant and brewery in Belleville
(Belleville News-Democrat, 2/29/16)
It just looks like a lot of dirt now, but 4204 Main Street Brewing Co. owner Todd Kennedy has big plans for space behind his Belleville brewery.
(Read More)
In other News

Allegiant takes prize-winning passengers on inaugural Florida route
(Illinois Business Journal, 2/18/2016)  
A Mascoutah woman and two others are traveling to Florida after winning a promotion offered by Allegiant Airlines.
(Read More)
Madison County Board presents 2016 Living Legend Awards to Dr. Ed Hightower, Bobby Collins, Sr.
(Riverbender, 2/18/2016)           
2016 Madison County Living Legends Community Service Awards were presented to Dr. Edward Hightower of Edwardsville, and Bobby Collins, Sr., of Alton, at Wednesday's meeting of the Madison County Board.
(Read More)

Scott Credit Union wins two State Awards
(Riverbender, 2/18/2016)
CPR Kits For Area Schools, Adult Financial Education Program Garner Recognition. Scott Credit Union has garnered awards in two categories of the Illinois Credit Union League's annual state-wide awards competition.
(Read More)

Salvation Army volunteers celebrate bell-ringing campaign success
(Riverbender, 2/19/2016)
The Salvation Army in Alton had an opportunity to express a heartfelt appreciation to a large group of volunteers at Wednesday's Red Kettle/Tree of Lights Volunteer Appreciation Lunch.
(Read More)
Wound Care Center director receives top accreditation
(Belleville News Democrat, 2/26/2016)
Dr. Jose Diaz Jr., medical director of the Wound Care Center at HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital in Highland, recently received the highest level of credential for a physician in wound care.
(Read More)
Keiser earns top Girl Scout honor
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 2/16/2016)
Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Alexa Keiser from Edwardsville has received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive.  
(Read More)
Recipe for success: Lovett's to be featured on travel show
(The Alton Telegraph, 2/20/2016)
It took a moment for the news to sink in when the Travel Channel called Lovett's Snoots, Fish and Chicken wanting to feature the restaurant on network television.
(Read More)
Grand Piasa Body Art celebrates soft opening
(The Alton Telegraph, 2/13/2016) 
Grand Piasa Body Art celebrated a soft opening recently at its new location. The tattoo parlor is officially open to the public, but owner Chris Hinkle said he and his crew are still catching up on a backlog of business that collected during the week that they were closed during the transition between locations.


Leadership Council members associated with projects in this issue


Madison County IL


St. Louis Regional Chamber

Memorial Hospital

America's Central Port Logo


Keeley & Sons


Belleville Chamber of Commerce

Ameren IL Logo

Scott Credit Union Logo

Lewis & Clark Logo


Follow on twitter
@NGA2scottAFB to keep updated on NGA efforts.


Learn more about Scott Patriot at

Contact Information

Ronda Sauget, Executive Director, Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois


Is Metro East Good NewsLink being sent directly to you?  If not, please sign-up for these twice-a-month mailings, by clicking the link below:  


Note: Availability of the full stories can be subject to registration requirements or posting expiration, based on the policies of the news organization originating the content