Author: Walter Williams

Life in Edwardsville in a COVID-19 Pandemic Environment

Edwardsville, Illinois can accommodate all of your needs and wants, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you are looking to start a family, invest in a college education, set up or grow your business, or even retire, there are a magnitude of opportunities Edwardsville offers that can cater to all of these plans. Located in Madison County in Southwestern Illinois, Edwardsville is only about a 25-minute drive from downtown St. Louis. The population of Edwardsville as of 2019 is around 25,233 people and it is on the rise. The population gives it a great hometown feel but is not so small that there is no room for expansion.

When looking closer at Edwardsville’s community, it is well-established, has many different amenities, and is equipped with resources to combat the global health crisis. Living with the COVID-19 pandemic has become a harsh reality, and we need more than ever a way to get out of the house and spend time outdoors while being safe and following the social distancing guidelines. The 130 miles of the Madison County Transit (MCT) Trails were and still are a perfect way to do so. When nobody was out in the community, and the normalcy of everyday life seemed to slip right through our fingers, all you had to do was look to the trails to see the people of Edwardsville coming together. The trails allow the community to get out of their houses and into nature while uniting one another through safe social distancing.

Just off of the trails, you can find Main Street in downtown. Here you can take a stroll and stop in any of the local restaurants or shops. You can also go to the historic Wildey Theater and see a movie, a live performance, or take in a remarkable beauty that this local landmark has to offer.  Another fantastic spot to go and get some fresh air and social distance are the gardens at SIUE. The 35-acres of botanical gardens provide a breathtaking getaway, allow you to connect with nature, and are conveniently located off of the trails. Whether you want to have a socially distanced picnic, sit and get some work done in the outdoors, take some pictures with a gorgeous background, or simply walk around and admire the beauty, the gardens are perfect for anything.

Located right in Edwardsville is Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. SIUE is a beautiful university that offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs to around 14,000 students. The campus of SIUE is picturesque and sits on 2,660 acres of land, although most of the buildings are centrally located and close to one another. Along with the scenic campus, SIUE offers online classes if you would prefer to safely social distance at home or if online is a better fit for your busy schedule. If you’ve just graduated high school and are looking to start your higher education, or if you’re looking to continue with a master’s program while taking care of your family, SIUE fits both of these options and many more. One of the advantages of the Edwardsville campus is that it is so close to St. Louis. This opens the door to many different internships and job opportunities.

Not only can you enhance your educational and personal life in Edwardsville, but you can also improve your professional life. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Madison county had an unemployment rate of only 3.5%, which was just under the national average and equal to the rest of Illinois. As of May 2020, Madison County has an unemployment rate of 13.2%. This is 2% lower than the 15.2% overall unemployment rate of Illinois, showing that no matter what is occurring globally, Edwardsville continuously has a low unemployment rate. Many major employers in Madison county create an abundance of jobs for Edwardsville’s people. These include Amazon, Prairie Farms, World Wide Technology, and Global Brass & Copper INC., to name a few.

When looking to expand or start a business, there are many resources that Edwardsville has to offer to help you succeed. The labor force, as of 2019, for Edwardsville was just over 12,400 people; for Madison county, it was just over 155,000 people; and for Southwestern IL, it was just over 328,000 people. The location of Edwardsville is unique from a logistics standpoint. Many different interstates are close by, including I-55 and I-270, and the airports in St. Louis allow for even more allocation of products. More than half of the U.S. population can obtain products in 2 days that move through Edwardsville’s distribution centers.

In Edwardsville, there are both the Gateway Commerce Center and the Lakeview Commerce Center. These two e-commerce parks offer warehousing and distribution options conveniently located to make the most for your business. They are also part of an Illinois Enterprise Zone, and properties in this zone can be up for many different tax abatements. The Enterprise Zone is not the only thing they have to offer; each individual park offers various features that may be right for your business. For example, the Gateway Commerce Center is part of Foreign Trade Zone No.31. This is one of only two Foreign Trade Zone’s in the country and can help lower international trade costs with different incentives.

Another great location in Edwardsville is University Park on the campus of SIUE. University Park is a 330-acre technology park that offers different, individual lots that allow clients to develop their business specifically for their goals. Since they are located on the campus of SIUE, companies have an abundance of college students to hire as employees or to add on as interns. These college students can also become customers, along with the rest of Edwardsville and the surrounding areas. The location puts University Park close to downtown St. Louis, different airports, and many regional interstates, which makes it easily accessible. University Park is a great location to open up your business because of the location and because it is part of an Illinois Enterprise Zone. This means that University Park properties may be eligible for many different exemptions or reductions that include sales tax exemption, property tax abatement, and many others.

Whether you want to social distance and explore the MCT trails, start or expand your business, continue your education, stroll downtown for a bite to eat, or just take in the beauty of the town, its people, and its’ surrounding areas, Edwardsville is the place to be.



Hard Hat Construction Area-Anderson Goshen Campus


  • Project Highlights:
    • The medical complex will be known as Anderson Goshen Campus. The first building will be a one-story
      ambulatory surgical treatment center and pediatric specialty clinic located on the southwest corner of the site.
      The surgery center will provide an array of services for both adults and children.
    • SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital has signed a letter of intent with Anderson Hospital to be the
      pediatric partner, in partnership with SLUCare Physician Group, in this unique facility.
    • The surgical center will include private patient pre- and post-operative areas, two operating rooms, and a
      procedure room.
    • A lab draw station and diagnostic imaging equipment will be on-site to complement surgical services, as well as
      provide an additional outpatient service to local residents.
    • Future plans for the property include three additional buildings which may be a physician office building, urgent
      care center and imaging center.

Hard Hat Construction Area-Plummer Family Park

August 28, 2019

Existing Business Growth Outpaces New Development for the First 8 Months This Year

The City of Edwardsville received $30,935,343 in new business/commercial permits for the first 8 months of 2019. This compares to $17,307,150 in new business/commercial permits from new development and companies entering the Edwardsville market for the first time.


These numbers are not usual, said, Walter Williams-Economic Development Director. “Existing business growth should account for 60 to 80% of new job growth and new investment.  Edwardsville provides an ideal location for business growth with our skilled workforce, robust transportation routes, and a stable community. Supporting business growth and development is a core economic development function that helps to diversify and strengthen our local economy.”


Arguably the biggest existing business growth belongs to Hershey.  Hershey added nearly 300,000 square feet onto the existing warehouse distribution facility in Edwardsville.  The 292,410-square-foot expansion increases the existing plant’s size from an original 1.1 million square feet to nearly 1.3 million square feet. The cost of this project is valued at $4,535,765.


Stillwater Senior Living is expanding from 46 living units and 40 employees to 80 units and add 32,000-square-feet by winter 2020. This addition will be built behind the current building.  The new addition will cost $5 million and add at least 20 new employees.


Donco will pump $2,155,000 into the local economy by building on an addition to its existing facility. Once completed Donco will hire an additional 50 employees.


Amazon is spending $1,900,000 in the Lakeview Commerce Center location retrofitting this facility to handle large item distribution (pianos, televisions).


Target is leading the way in sustainable operations and recognizes that meeting their energy needs through solar is good for the community and environment. The Edwardsville Target is spending $705,224 in solar panel to reduce their energy costs It is anticipated that their rooftop solar project will generate enough energy to offset between 15 and 40 percent of a property’s energy needs.


Smaller, locally owned businesses like McDonald’s, Kettle River, Cassens, Joe Pizza, Culvers also made sizeable investments into their current business operations.


We recognize that business is at the heart of our success as a city.  That’s why throughout the various city departments, we make every effort to make doing business in Edwardsville as attractive and trouble-free as possible. These new investments from existing businesses bode well for the future of the city’s employment opportunities and its continuing economic strength.  The proof is in our success, said Hal Patton-Mayor City of Edwardsville.