During the RiverBend Growth Association’s 21st State of the Riverbend event, the RBGA presented five local organizations with the Captains of the Riverbend award.
The awards, including a trophy and a “captain’s hat,” are a chance to identify and honor how local organizations have enhanced the region and shown a commitment to public enhancement, community service and economic enhancement. CNB Bank and Trust, Cope Plastics and Scott Credit Union received the award for Community Involvement and the municipalities of East Alton and Godfrey received the Public Enhancement award.
CNB Bank and Trust has a history reaching back to 1854 as Greene County’s first bank, operating out of a small space of the public square in Carrollton. It is the oldest continuously active banking charter in Illinois.
Today, the bank is headquartered in Carlinville and has 13 locations throughout the region, employing more than 200 local residents.
Showing its commitment to the Greater Alton area, CNB has adopted a policy to provide one personal hour to any employee for every two hours of personal time they give to another organization’s events.
“I speak for everyone at CNB when I say it is an honor making our efforts worthwhile in this community,” Executive Vice President and COO Larry Franklin said.
In 1946, Dwight Cope began distributing plastics as an employee of Plastic Parts and Sales in St. Louis. Dwight, along with Mozelle Cope, opened Cope Plastics Inc. and quickly grew out of its Godfrey location to its current spot on Industrial Drive in Alton.
In 2004, the ownership interests of the company were consolidated, making Cope one of the largest privately held, woman-owned businesses in the area. Today, it has become the supplier of choice for more than 7,000 companies, including manufacturers involved in heavy equipment, agriculture, food service, oil and gas, aerospace, medical, transportation, retail and graphics.
“Our commitment to the community supports both our business and our personal philosophies,” Director of Marketing and Communication Cindy Smalley said. “We should all be very proud of our community.”
While Scott Credit Union is a newcomer by comparison to the Greater Alton area, its history actually reaches back to 1943. As a full-service financial institution providing financial services for individuals and businesses including checking accounts, ATMs, credit and debit cards, new and used vehicle loans, mortgage loans and more, it employs more than 200 people in its service market.
Scott Credit Union also rewards its employees for community involvement.
“Credit unions were founded on a people-helping-people philosophy and we take that very seriously,” Community Relations Supervisor Jennifer Riebold said. “We are relatively new here in the Riverbend, so our story has just begun and we look forward to working with you in the future.”
In addition to privately owned businesses, two municipalities were recognized for their efforts. The village of East Alton earned a Captain of the Riverbend award in large part due to its work on Emerald Ridge, a development of 46 new single-family homes in the former “Defense Area.”
This part of East Alton had become a blighted section of the village, as the housing constructed in the 1940s as worker housing for the nearby Olin munitions plant during World War II had become dilapidated and a draw for drugs and other illegal activities.
This all-new project will cost $15.7 million and will provide sustainable and energy-efficient housing for families in a wholesome, community-driven setting.
The village of Godfrey was recognized for its extensive renovations to Glazebrook Park and its continued improvements to Stamper Lane. The improvements were paid in large part through grants, and upgrades such as the all-new concession stand at Glazebrook Park offer the ability to hire employees such as concession workers, umpires and field maintenance personnel.
An unincorporated township until 1991, Godfrey is one of the largest communities in Illinois in spite of being one of its newest municipalities.
“There’s more to come,” Godfrey Mayor Mike McCormick promised.
RiverBend Growth Association President Monica Bristow also commended other high-profile projects under way in the region, including the announcement of a new police station for Wood River, a new dental simulation lab at the SIU School of Dental Medicine in Alton, and the construction of the Alton Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center at the former site of the Robert P. Wadlow Municipal Golf Course.
“A lot of this development would not happen without the Riverbend Enterprise Zone,” Bristow said. “We at the Growth Association are working with area businesses, Madison County and consultant Opportunity Alliance to make sure that our zone is one of the 50 that get approved and reinstated after the 103 that the state currently has expired.
“A lot of work and investment is going into the process of renewal.”