The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.
Issue link: http://digital.smallmarketmeetings.com/i/730815
C o l l i n s v i l l e a n d E d w a r d s v i l l e , I l l i n o i s Collinsville and Edwardsville, Illinois While Collinsville and Edwardsville sit on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, they're actually closer to downtown St. Louis than some of the city's western edges in Missouri. "It's an easy commute; we're just a 15- to 20-minute drive from downtown," said Dan Krankeola, president/ CEO of ILLINOISouth Tourism. "We're not city, we're not rural, we're more urban with a lot of facilities and res- taurants and shops." Collinsville isn't the largest of the many suburbs that ring St. Louis' eastern side, but it does have some of the area's largest meeting space. The Gateway Center has 50,000 square feet of flexible event space, including a 20,400-square-foot exhibit hall that can be halved and a 19,700-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into four smaller ballrooms. The nearby full-service, 236- room DoubleTree by Hilton has more than 7,600 square feet of flexible function space. Groups shouldn't miss Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, a 2,200-acre area that preserves the remains of a sophisticated prehistoric native settlement. There, the interpretive center houses exhibits, a re-created village and a theater that shows an orientation film. The center also has event space for 50-person meetings as well as reception options, Krankeola said. Also in Madison County, 10 miles north of Collinsville, the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus has several venues. SIUE's conference and catering ser- vices can handle planning, budgeting, room setup, registration and more for events of six to 800 people. www.illinoisouth.org O ' F a l l o n a n d B e l l e v i l l e , I l l i n o i s O'Fallon and Belleville, Illinois Eighteen miles east of downtown St. Louis, the city of O'Fallon isn't St. Clair County's largest community (Belleville is), but it's seeing some big developments. The 20,000-square-foot Regency Conference Center is adjacent to a 128-room Hilton Garden Inn, but develop- ers also plan to build another hotel next to the Regency, Krankeola said. The city will also be home to the new McKendree Metro Rec Plex, a full-service sports and event complex slated to open in December. In addition to two NHL- size ice rinks and an aquatic center with a 10-lane pool, the center will have several rooms for private events, company retreats and even group workouts. The facility can host conventions, presentations and special events because "they'll be able to convert the ice rink to a solid floor," Krankeola said. In Belleville, groups can gather at one of Bellecourt Banquet Center's two locations: Bellecourt Place, with two dining rooms for 25 to 150 guests, or Bellecourt Manor, with 10,000 square feet of meeting space that can seat up to 350 people. The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows is an outdoor shrine and 200-acre