Mt. Vernon Brings in New Businesses

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By Matthew Searcy

MT. VERNON -- Several more business developments are set to begin in Mt. Vernon. The community just saw the opening of Hobby Lobby and a new water park last month. Now a couple of hotel projects are in the works.


"We have a lot of people working together and in the same direction," said Mayor Mary Jane Chesley. "That direction is to improve the city of Mt. Vernon."


Since the start of the year Mt. Vernon has added more than half a dozen new businesses, but the city isn't stopping there. New tourist attractions have created the need for new hotels.


"There will be a new Holiday Inn Express that will be north of the existing Holiday Inn," explained Chesley.


The $10 million project will open the door for a separate $6 million hotel renovation.


"The Holiday Inn that currently exists is undergoing remodeling and it will become a Double Tree," said Chesley.


City manager Ron Neibert says the new businesses are stimulating the local economy, "The two hotels in combination are going to be creating anywhere between 40 and 60 full and part-time jobs."


Jefferson County's unemployment rate of 6.3 percent is one of the lowest in Southern Illinois and well below the state average of 7.9 percent.


"Obviously those are revenues that are coming into the community," said Neibert. "People are working and spending more money and these jobs provide them a better quality of life."


A Huck's gas station will also be getting an upgrade later this summer. The convenience store, along 10th Street on the south side of town, will be knocked down and rebuilt as a Huck's Travel Center to accommodate truckers rolling through town.
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