Lindenwood University seen as catalyst for development in Belleville

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KPLR) – “Lindenwood University has been what many will tell you, a God send for the city of Belleville,” said Mark Eckert, Mayor of Belleville.

Mayer Mark Eckert’s eyes light up when he talks about how Lindenwood University has lifted up the city he leads.

“There’s so much excitement going on business are calling us saying they want back in Belleville, he said.

Take the project along route 15, just across the street from Our Lady of Snow Shrine. Alderman and longtime business owner in Belleville, Roger Wigginton, says it’ll be home to a Hofbrauhaus brewery and also hotels, a convention center and the possibility of a soccer complex.

According to Eckert and Wigginton, developers see Lindenwood’s investment and want to be a part of the growth.

“Lindenwood has I would say 250 plus employees living and working in this community. We’ve spent over $20 million in Belleville in new buildings and renovating existing facilities,” said Scott Queen, the Communications and Marketing Director for Lindenwood University.

And with that, the university encourages its students to take pride in the community. Each of the 33 organizations on campus must complete 40 hours of community service.

“The main thing that we push in their minds and character is that no matter where they are going in life, they have to be part of something bigger,” said Corey Ellzey, the Director of Student Life and Leadership at Lindenwood University.

Mayor Eckert says the university isn’t just improving the economy, its lifting the spirits of Belleville.

“They have become a part of this community,” Eckert said. Our hope is that after they get educated they will find jobs and stay in this community because it’s a way for it to grow.