Metro East Area News Briefs

Chronicle Media

East St. Louis Clean Sweep poster

Volunteer Clean Sweep targets East St. Louis properties 

Organizers of the first East St. Louis Clean Sweep hope to tear down 13 abandoned structures the city’s Olivette Park area — and clear overgrown brush and trash from several nearby properties — during their first-of-its-kind, morning-long, mass community improvement blitz, Sept. 29. 

Holland Construction and several construction companies are volunteering time and equipment to demolish derelict structures, according to East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks. 

The mayor’s office is urging area residents to turn out and help clean nearby overgrown lots. 

“We are grateful that Bruce Holland, Founder of Holland Construction Company, has agreed to lead the way in bringing together his company and many others to offer their manpower and equipment,” said Jackson-Hicks.  

Abandoned and, often, burned-out buildings have become a major issue across both St. Louis and East St. Louis. 

Elimination of problem properties – along with stricter enforcement of city codes – has become a priority for Jackson-Hicks, who also plans to unleash a new commuter assisted cadre of building inspectors and launch a new “nuisance court” for code violators over the coming weeks. 

The mayor’s office is organizing the effort in conjunction with the St. Louis-based non-profit, Better Family Life, which has previously organized five similar efforts in the City of St. Louis. 

Volunteers are to meet Saturday morning, beginning at 6 a.m., at the Welcome to East St. Louis, 939 St. Clair Ave. Organizers will formally welcome workers at 7:15 a.m. Work will take place from 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Volunteers can register by calling the Mayor’s Office at 618-482-6601.  

School board seeks comment on superintendent search 

The Edwardsville Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education has scheduled two special meetings to accept public comment on the selection of a new district superintendent: 

The Board of Education has set two dates for their first community stakeholder sessions:  

  • Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Edwardsville High School Media Center. 6161 Center Grove Road, and 
  • Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, at the Liberty Middle School Auditorium, #1 District Drive, 

Both meetings at to begin at 7 p.m. 

Current superintendent Dr. Lynda Andre has announced her retirement, effective July 1, 2019. On Sept. 10, the Board of Education discussed and approved Executive Search Services in open session. 

In addition to the public meetings, the school board plans to make an online survey available for comment on the selection of a superintendent. 

The school board in August retained the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) to conduct the selection process.  

Jackson Center honored for landmark restoration 

Landmarks Illinois has selected Edwardsville’s Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities (MJCH) as the recipient of its 2018 Project of the Year Award for Leadership. 

Under a unique public-private partnership, Lewis and Clark Community College and Jackson, a successful businessman and owner of the Harlem Globetrotters, have transformed Edwardsville’s former Lincoln School, built in 1912, into a popular meeting space and cultural center, according to the organization. 

The center conducts research, education and public engagement projects on humanities-related issues at the local, national and international levels. 

Reopened following renovations in late 2015, the former school building, on North Main Street, now houses the offices of the MJCH Foundation and Illinois Humanities, and offers event spaces for the public to rent.  

The Jackson Center is one of nine projects to be honored by Landmarks Illinois during award ceremonies this fall. 

L&C President Dale Chapman credited the Lincoln School Alumni Foundation, the Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission, and the City of Edwardsville for their assistance in repurposing the once-vacant school building. 

The Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission nominated the Mannie Jackson Center for the award.  

Landmarks Illinois award recipients were formally recognized during a Sept. 15 program in Chicago Sept. 15. Each winner received a $1,000 prize.  

East St. Louis youth named to state advisory council 

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has named Z’Sanique Sanders, a sophomore at East St. Louis Senior High School to its 2018-19 Student Advisory Council (SAC). 

One of only a few such bodies anywhere in the nation, the student advisory council, established in 1975, allows a selected group of students from across Illinois to provide student input to the board and work with board members on education issues. 

Sanders is one of 13 students named to the council this year; joining seven returning members. 

The new 2018-19 council convened at the ISBE offices in Springfield on Sept. 13 and 14; in conjunction with the board’s annual policy planning retreat. 

Council members, each March present a research project to the board; meeting several times a year and working on various aspects of their project while in their home communities. 

The 2017-18 council’s project was a new “Student Voices” microsite, designed to help assess postsecondary education options and explore new methods of education. 

In previous years, the council has examined topics ranging from school safety and cyberbullying to grading scales and mental health. 

This year’s council members were selected from more than 100 applications on the basis of strong interpersonal skills; the ability to work well in groups, think creatively, and come up with innovative solutions to policy challenges; and an interest in public service. 

ISBE will make applications for the 2019-20 council available in the spring of 2019. 



–Metro East Area News Briefs–