Much excitement is in store for 2018, not the least of which are the 2018 elections, the myriad of businesses slated to open in Monroe County and the happenings at the state capitol.
Here is a snapshot of what to expect in 2018:
• The 2018 elections include several offices in the county. The Monroe County Republican Central Committee announced its candidates for the 2018 election while no Democrats filed to run.
These candidates are Jonathan McLean running for Monroe County Clerk, Ron Schultheis running for Monroe County Commissioner, Monroe County Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein, Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing, Monroe-Randolph Regional Superintendent Kelton Davis and Monroe County Assessor Carl Wuertz.
Both Monroe County Clerk Dennis Knobloch and Monroe County Commissioner Delbert Wittenauer announced their retirements.
Gubernatorial candidates who filed for the 2018 elections include Democratic candidates JB Pritzker of Chicago, Chris Kennedy of Kenilworth, State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston, Bob Daiber of Marine, Tio Hardiman of Calumet City and Robert Marshall of Burr Ridge.
Terry Getz of Dupo plans to run for governor as a write-in candidate.
Republican candidates are incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner and State Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton. Other state executive offices up for election include Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois Treasurer, Illinois Comptroller and Illinois Attorney General.
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) will be challenged in the spring primary by Preston Nelson of Benton, who is running as a Libertarian for the Republican nomination.
Democrats running for the 12th Congressional District include current St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, David Bequette of Columbia, and Charles Koen of Cairo.
• Construction of the Main Street Abbey multi-use development in Columbia will continue to move forward at the former Immaculate Conception Church. According to developer Gregg Crawford, construction has begun for the lofts, hair salon and coffee shop to be housed in the former church convent.
Crawford’s company, Concept Real Estate, will serve as property manager for the three lofts that will be completed this month. The hair salon, Liz Upchurch’s Colour Bar Hair Studio, will also be moved in this month, as will Marcia Brooks’ Our Coffee House & Cafe.
Crawford said the event center to be known as The Abbey has a March completion date. Upon opening, Dustin Row will serve as event planner for the hall. Five lofts to be managed by Concept Real Estate are expected to be ready for rent in the former rectory by next fall.
Work on the microbrewery, restaurant, bed and breakfast, meeting rooms and theater — that will take over the former Immaculate Conception School — will not begin until January 2019. Crawford said he has tenants for this space but could not reveal specifics.
• Immaculate Conception Catholic School will continue its capital campaign to raise $11.6 million for a new Catholic education and activity center on Palmer Road in Columbia.
According to Father Carl Scherrer, the plan is to move the school into the CEAC by 2019. Contact ICS at 281-5353 for more information or to make a donation.
• Space continues to fill at the 11 South medical complex at 11 W. Sandbank Road in Columbia. Developer Joe Koppeis said 8,000 square feet of space is what remains for lease, including a 2,874 square foot space on the second floor and a 1,678 square foot space on the third floor.
Every office space on the fifth floor has been leased. Additionally, Proving Ground Cafe has moved out of its satellite location on the second floor, and Eagle’s Nest Cafe is slated to take its place this month.
The home design and building company Laurie Homes recently moved into the fourth floor. Partners William Wilson, Laura Wilson and Matt Lanter will provide services from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 618-281-3477 or go to lauriehomes.com for more information.
Inline Data Systems, a customer relationship management company in the automotive industry, works with sellers of extended warranties to develop a multi-tier marketing platform. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for this business owned by Justin Wilkerson. For more information, go to inlinecrm.com or call 618-208-4058.
Dr. William Reilly has opened a St. Louis Cardiology Consultants office on the second floor. On the third floor, Associated Physicians group has office hours from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The office includes pain management, primary care and physical therapy services and can be reached at 618-663-3323.
The Raven office on the fifth floor provides high-technology automation components to the industrial sector. For more information, call 855-519-4792. Red Bud Clinic Corp. has moved into the second floor of the medical building with Scott Hinze in general surgery and Charmaine Edwards in gastroenterology.
• Peter and Julie Ingold of Columbia are working to turn 1160 Bluff Road, in the area previously thought to be the site of Piggot’s Fort, into a bistro called Sunset Overlook. For more information, go to Facebook.com/SunsetOverlook.
• No-Jacks Bar & Grill in Smithton is in the process of expanding with a second location coming to Columbia. The business will open in the Admiral Trost Development near Hampton Inn.
• Monroe County EMS is celebrating its 40th year in service with a special event each month of the year. The first event is a blood drive slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 27 at 901 Illinois Avenue in Waterloo. To schedule an appointment, call 866-448-3253.
• The Columbia Kiwanis Club is also celebrating a milestone, with a 25th anniversary gala for its sponsors and members scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 19 at The Falls in Columbia. The event includes dinner at 6:30 p.m., an open bar, live entertainment provided by Whiskey Dixon and a short video presentation on the club.
• The Waterloo Citizens for a Pool organization will continue its work to bring a public pool back into the community. The group is currently raising money for a feasibility study, which assesses the practicality of a proposed project.
• Reparis to Maeystown’s stone arch bridge will continue this spring. About $20,000 has been raised for the repairs.
• An exploratory committee brought forth the idea of a Christian school in Monroe County and asked for the community’s support moving forward. As of now, the plan is to open enrollment this spring with classes to start in August.
• David Broske plans to have a walking trail completed in the spring for the Helping Strays facility as part of his Eagle Scout project with Columbia Troop 320.
• Following Waterloo Police Department K-9 Ayla’s retirement, Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith announced the WPD plans to employ a new K-9 in the future. Waterloo Deputy Police Chief Jeff Prosise said the department has started the process but is unsure of a timeline at this point.
• Waterloo Band Parents continue a fundraising campaign to purchase new uniforms for the Waterloo Marching Bulldogs, hoping to raise funds in time for Waterloo High School band director Mike Mullins’ last year with the district in 2018. Contact CJ Runyon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-781-8845 for more information or to make a donation.
• A business known as Waterloo Donuts plans to move into the space next to Sidebarr Technologies off Market Street.
• Lieferbräu Brewery at 118 E. Market Street in Red Bud announced on Facebook that it plans to open this April.
• A lot of activity is taking place inside the Rock City development in the Valmeyer caves, including the opening of GridRock Data Center. The company is a hyper secure data center with hours from midnight to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays. For more information, call 935-4000.
• The new Columbia Burger King at 360 Columbia Center is open to the public.
• Ace’s Wild is a new video gaming parlor at 208 N. Main Street, Suite G in Columbia. The business is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week, and can be reached at 618-791-9083.
• Waterloo recently awarded a $10,000 facade grant to Mike and Lea Thomas. The two plan to turn the building at 121 S. Main Street, which used to be the City Hotel, into loft-style apartments at the upper level, with a business yet to be announced on the first floor.
• Jackson Hewitt in Waterloo recently moved to 122 N. Main Street and can be reached at 618-293-1850.
• Bootsie’s in Waterloo is in the works but an official opening date for the family style restaurant with bakery and general store at the former George Weber dealership lot along Route 3 is not known at this time.
•The Four-County Highway Coalition will continue meeting throughout the year to discuss plans to expand a potential highway route from Waterloo to Murphysboro.
• The Monroe County Economic Development Corporation is putting together a series of programs focused on helping entrepreneurs in southwest Illinois to be successful. An Idea Jam is the first of these events, slated for 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.