Edwardsville, lll., August 22, 2014… As the ink dried following the official signing ceremony renaming the Illinois approach to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge as the U.S. Congressman Jerry F. Costello Expressway, the former Congressman joined members of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois for a special reception in his honor. The event not only served to salute Costello for his work to make the new bridge a reality, but also as an opportunity to officially recognize Bruce Holland for his role in advancing that project and many other critical infrastructure projects that make Southwestern Illinois such a thriving multi-modal mecca.
“For many years, the need for a new Mississippi River bridge topped the Leadership Council’s agenda, and the reasons for that will only become more clear as time passes,” noted Dennis Wilmsmeyer, president of the Leadership Council. “The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge will encourage development of the region, enable easier traffic flow between Illinois and Missouri, and open the area to growth for many years.”
That the bridge is today a reality is in no small part due to Costello’s dedication and persistence in getting the funding for the project. The Leadership Council reinforced its appreciation for those efforts with a special presentation of artwork featuring a dramatic black and white image of the bridge. Now in the private sector, Costello continues to work closely with the Leadership Council on behalf of the Southwestern Illinois region, this time as a consultant to The Scott Air Force Base and Southwestern Illinois Defense Assets Retention and Expansion Task Force.
Costello & Holland Honored by Leadership Council
First and Final Add
While Costello’s leadership role with the new bridge initiative was widely known, behind the scenes, Bruce Holland worked just as diligently to ensure that the plans for the new bridge came to fruition. Championing this cause was a natural fit for Holland, President of Holland Construction Services, Inc., who led the Leadership Council’s Transportation Committee from its very early days, providing leadership in the formative years and throughout the next two decades. The Transportation Committee was instrumental in gaining funding for many of the infrastructure projects that today make Southwestern Illinois a thriving hub for logistics and distribution facilities, such as I-255 and the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.
When Holland learned that the bridge was not going to be able to be lit due to funding constraints, he, in what is typical of the Southwestern Illinois “we can do it” mantra, didn’t accept this for the answer, and instead went to work raising the funding for the lighting. Working collaboratively with many like-minded partners in the St. Louis region, he helped to raise the necessary funds and made the bridge the lighted beauty that it is today.
Mark Harms, co-chair of the Leadership Council’s Southwestern Illinois Transportation Enhancement (SITE) Committee, formerly the transportation Committee, presented a second commemorative photo of the bridge to Holland. He saluted Holland as a humble leader who would have tried to persuade the Leadership Council to nix its plans to honor him had he known of them.
“This artwork is a symbol of our gratitude for the light you have shone on Southwestern Illinois through your leadership and we greatly appreciate all that you have done for the Leadership Council and for the region,” noted Harms. “Your efforts have made a positive difference in Southwestern Illinois and both you and Jerry Costello leave as a legacy an excellent transportation infrastructure for generations to come to enjoy.”