Granite City

Some objects found inside the newly acquired GCADD buildings will remain
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

In Granite City, $75,000 can buy you almost an entire city block. At least if you’re an arts organization.

“This is the promised land is what it is, it’s the land of opportunity. And as much as it may sound hackneyed or trite, it’s true,” said Galen Gondolfi, founder of Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts.

Geoff Turk, U.S. Steel
U.S. Steel

Steel produced in Granite City is part of an international trade case that is subject to new regulations signed by President Barack Obama.

Granite City Steel Mill
Davd Schaper|NPR

Updated at 11:30 a.m., May 28, 2015:

U.S. Steel now says it will not be temporarily shutting down its plant in Granite City. The company announced on Thursday that it will continue to operate one blast furnace and another will be off while new equipment is installed.

U.S. Congressman Mike Bost’s office says about 80 workers will be laid off as production is modified.

The steel maker had announced plans in March to temporarily idle the plant in a move that would have affected more than 2,000 workers (see below.) The company closed coke ovens in Granite City earlier this year, leaving 176 people out of work.

Our earlier story:

A Metro East community is dealing with the temporary shutdown of a major employer for the second time in less than a decade.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House was in Granite City, Ill. on Wednesday to boost his longstanding focus on bolstering manufacturing jobs. 

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

It takes just a moment to hand a child a sack lunch, but it is THE moment -- the one that matters – for the volunteers with Twigs, a program that feeds children from financially struggling families in the summertime in Granite City.

You’ll find the volunteers in their bright yellow shirts at 11 designated spots -- street corners, parks and churches -- from 11:30 to 12:30, Monday through Friday, rain or shine, starting the day after school lets out for summer vacation and until it opens again.

(Flickr/Paul Sable)

The price of steel pipes and tubes are at the center of a rally in Granite City Friday afternoon.

It's one of six rallies planned around the U.S. this spring. The goal is to bring attention to what steelworkers and steel companies say are unfair trade practices by companies in nine countries.

The products are Oil Country Tubular Goods, used in natural gas and oil exploration, an industry that has boomed in the U.S. in recent years.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Illinois Department of Transportation is considering two options for a high-speed rail line between St. Louis and Granite City. 

It’s part of a broader high-speed rail corridor between St. Louis and Chicago that’s aimed at shortening commute times between the two cities.

Construction is already underway on rail improvements between Alton and Joliet. But Congress hasn’t issued federal funding yet to build a high-speed rail line between St. Louis and Illinois. IDOT is taking the preliminary steps to apply for the federal money.

KWMU photo

(Updated at 5:25 p.m., February 18)

Vice President Joe Biden will be joined by past and present top federal transportation officials on Wednesday when he stops by Granite City to promote the five-year anniversary of the passage of the federal stimulus measure.

In Granite City, Biden is expected to highlight the spending on port improvements along the Mississippi River that were made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was aimed at stemming the economic downturn underway in early 2009.

(National Institutes of Health)

Updated at 4:35 p.m. with response from Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. with additional information and clarifications.

A reported explosion at a southwestern Illinois steel plant has injured at least nine people, including two who remain hospitalized.

Fire officials say the blast happened shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday at American Steel Foundries in Granite City, just northeast of St. Louis.

Part of a monthlong series

The Great Recession has hit the industrial Midwest especially hard in recent years, from big cities to small factory towns. But now, in at least one small Illinois city, local leaders believe the worst is finally behind them.

Sitting across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis, Granite City, Ill., has certainly seen better days. In its downtown, there are more boarded-up and empty storefronts and vacant lots than there are businesses.

Flickr

Authorities near Alton in southwestern Illinois are investigating the electrocution of a man whose body was found near snipped electrical power lines investigators believe he was trying to steal.

Madison County Coroner Stephen Nonn says 34-year-old Mark Becker of Granite City was found dead early Friday. Investigators believe he died Thursday night.

Nonn says evidence at the scene suggests that Becker made contact with charged overhead power lines after they had been cut from the utility pole.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Since his election in 2005, Granite City Mayor Ed Hagnauer has helped steer his community of about 30,000 through some trying times.

In July 2006, severe storms battered Granite City, downing trees and power lines and leaving hundreds of residents without electricity for a week. An ice storm the following November again left many in the community in the dark. But no one was injured or killed, and the city worked with Granite City Township officials to set up emergency generators in cooling and heating shelters.

U.S. Steel in Granite City
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon | File photo

Dan Simmons, president of Local 1899 of the United Steelworkers, said he never forgets his own mantra -- to buy American-made products -- even when it turns out to be a real challenge.

Simmons said that he and a fellow union official spent hours scouring the warehouse of a St. Louis candy wholesaler recently searching for union-made -- or even American-made -- candy to toss to kids at Monday's annual Labor Day parade in Granite City.

"We had to really work at it," Simmons said. "We spent way longer than we should have to make sure it was American-made."

Granite City used TIF funds to build a new movie theater.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon | File photo

There is a glowing sign of changing times in downtown Granite City: a stylish marquee on a just-completed state-of-the-art cinema, within eyeshot of an old landmark steel mill that's up and running again.

Granite City used $4.6 million in tax-increment financing funds to pay for the theater, in hopes that it will draw people downtown.