Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.

Economic development is a driving force for growth in southern Illinois

  • Updated
  • 0
Economic development is a driving force for growth in southern Illinois 1

MURPHYSBORO, IL (WSIL) -- Economic Development is the lifeblood of southern Illinois. That's why leaders like Murphysboro mayor Will Stephens dedicate so much of their time to it.

"I'd say 50 percent of my time is spent on economic development," said Stephens.

Continuing to grow and bring more quality to Murphysboro was a driving force that Mayor Stephens sites as to why he ran for mayor a decade ago.

"I felt like the community needed some specific effort to revitalize the community, not only to clean it up but to grow," said Stephens.

One example of that is the development of the holiday inn that opened more than a year ago.

"It has been a tremendous boost to Murphysboro in a number of ways," said Stephens.

Stephens is on the SI Now committee and chairs the Southwest connector task force, which is an effort to connect southwest Illinois to the St. Louis area more efficiently.

"Anytime you can increase traffic and connectivity it's going to grow the region," Stephen says. "This would be a huge project.

"Southern Illinois and this region, we've seen population loss and economic development is one of the few things you can do to combat that.

"It would help every aspect of Southern Illinois when it comes to economic development."

When someone tells Mayor Stephens they want to open a business in Murphysboro -- his initial reaction is usually the same.

"When they come to us and say, 'we'd like to open a business,' my answer is always yes until we find an obstacle that we can't overcome together," said Stephens.

Not only is it important for Stephens to continue to grow Murphysboro, but he also wants to keep what makes it special for the people who live there.

"As long as you know what your community's values are, you can grow and not change the nature of the community. That's what I know to be the case," said Stephens.

Have a news tip or story idea? Email Paul at

Download the free WSIL News and Weather apps for the latest stories and alerts sent straight to your mobile device.

Recommended for you