Following a signing agreement with the City of Alton and SIUE, Mayor Brant Walker (center) shakes hands with Connie Frey-Spurlock, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and SIUE Successful Communities Collaborative (SSCC) faculty director. Denise Cobb, PhD, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs (left) participated in the ceremony.EDWARDSVILLE - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Successful Communities Collaborative (SSCC) is partnering with the City of Alton, for its inaugural year launch.

The project is driven by the 15-year comprehensive plan of public improvements in Alton. The SSCC’s Alton project will run for a year, starting fall 2018 through spring 2019. SIUE and Alton officials signed a partnership agreement Wednesday. Sept. 12 at Alton City Hall.

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SSCC is a project that partners with local communities in Illinois and surrounding areas to improve various aspects of life and address issues of sustainability. The pilot year took off in fall 2017, with Highland and Godfrey as community partners.

The SSCC program worked with SIUE’s School of Nursing (SON) students and Highland city officials to combat opioid use, and the SIUE Department of Public Health students worked with the Village of Godfrey, where recycling project ‘Greener Godfrey’ took off successfully.

In collaboration with Alton, the SSCC will work to:

  • Develop a marketing strategy to attract and retain youth sports tournaments as a means of boosting tourism and economic development
  • Evaluate best practices for business incubation and small business start-up initiatives
  • Develop traffic and transportation recommendations for the some residential neighborhoods
  • Create a mobile app to focus on small businesses and retail offerings unique to Alton

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“I couldn't be more pleased to have Alton as SSCC’s inaugural year partner,” said Connie Frey-Spurlock, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and SSCC faculty director “Alton has a rich history and is home to many locally owned shops that give Alton a unique feel.

“Given the exciting things that are going on there, and city leaders who are looking to make Alton an even better place to spend time, our students are promised a rich learning experience,” she added.

“I’d like to thank SIUE for choosing to partner with the City of Alton,” said Mayor Brant Walker. “Although there are many positive things happening in Alton, the assistance from the SSCC will bring increased energy and focus to local community and economic development efforts, that will make Alton an even better place to live and visit.”

The plan will comprise smaller projects that will address such specific areas as:

  • Community facilities
  • Land use
  • Housing
  • Parks and recreation
  • Business development
  • Infrastructure

The projects will be matched with available SIUE academic disciplines, which will engage both the faculty and students.

SIUE Successful Communities Collaborative (SSCC) initiative is tailored after the prestigious University-community partnership program, Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) Network model created in 2009 by the University of Oregon. The University joined EPIC, a network of more than 30 colleges and universities in March 2018.

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