A new $864,000 beautification project is getting under way where major roadways lead into Fairview Heights.
New trees, shrubs and grasses will be planted at the interchange at Interstate 64 and Illinois 159 and is expected to be finished by July 2014. Mayor Gail Mitchell first proposed the initiative and the project, which has been on the books for the past five years.
"It took five years to do, but we're here," Mitchell said. "It's a really good project."
The grant money was appropriated at that time but just recently was made available, said Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Belleville. He said the new landscaping will enhance the entrance into the city.
"It's the first impression on the community," Hoffman said. "This is going to be something positive for Fairview Heights."
As chairman of the Fairview Heights Beautification Committee, Patrick McCarthy is pleased to see the project soon will come to fruition. The committee, which was founded three years ago, leads a number of volunteer cleanup events, including a monthly cleanup one Saturday morning a month.
"We're wanting to do something more, whether it's flowers or garden improvements," McCarthy said. "But the first thing we recognized was the high amount of litter and trash. Again, that makes that first impression for your city. So this is going to be a huge difference regionally. I don't look at it as part of the city; it's the benefit of Collinsville, Fairview Heights, Swansea and for that matter, adjacent to Caseyville and O'Fallon. Everybody at large benefits from a major interchange beautification. The success of the area is enhanced by what you see."
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2526.