Improving our front porch

St. Clair County is engineering and wrangling a project on Front Street in East St. Louis that offers a lot of positives and promise.

The $8.1 million project is improving traffic along the riverfront, separating heavy trucks headed to the grain handling facilities from the gamblers headed to the Casino Queen. Those dollars are coming from a variety of tax sources, but what is especially noteworthy is that this is a great example of a successful public-private partnership with $1.5 million being contributed by the Casino Queen, Cargill and Bunge-SCF Grain.

While infrastructure has long been a proper use of tax dollars, building a public-private partnership is appealing because the burden is spread to those who most directly benefit from the improvements. In addition, this road work will open the door for further development along what should be the most valuable real estate in the St. Louis region.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern noted that the riverfront road improvements will present commercial opportunities by leveraging the new Illinois 3 and connections to the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Cleaning up and bringing vibrancy to the metro-east’s front door is a solid move for the region in general and a boon to an area that desperately needs the jobs.