Housing choices abound!

The Belleville area consists of several communities and multiple unincorporated subdivisions located in St. Clair County, Illinois. Community types range from retail-oriented cities with much to do and see to sleepy bedroom communities that have few industries. The region's communities attract both businesses and residents from miles around. Many people live in Illinois and commute to their jobs in and around St. Louis, Missouri, a city of two million people and unlimited opportunities, just a mere 20 minutes away.

Multi-family housing choices vary from mobile home parks to condominiums, with each complex having its own style. The single-family market offers starter homes to historic mansions, as well as new construction. Each neighborhood is unique and offers its own advantages. Whether you prefer a suburban lifestyle, a rural setting, a country club atmosphere, or a traditional historic home, you'll find what you like in the Belleville area.

Belleville is one of the oldest communities in the St. Louis metropolitan area and is the seat of St. Clair County government. All of the amenities of a medium-size city with little of the clutter and congestion of a major city can be found in Belleville. The architecture of many Belleville homes portrays the city's strong German ancestry. With a 175-year old historic district of over 700 homes, Belleville provides a picturesque setting for any family.

If subdivision living is your preference, Belleville has over 50 distinct subdivisions, with many others just outside the city limits. Opportunities for “fixer-uppers” exist in both subdivisions and the historic district. A proactive and professional housing and maintenance department ensures that Belleville homes retain their quality. City inspectors utilize certified contractors, occupancy permits, and a variety of tools to enforce standard building and maintenance codes.

New construction is booming! St. Clair County projects approximately 1,000 housing starts per year by the turn of the century. The county enjoys a steadily growing population of 250,000 residents, with Belleville being the approximate center of activity. The influence of Belleville doesn't stop at the city limits. Belleville's population jumps from 44,000 to 75,000 when surrounding subdivisions in a five mile radius are included. This proximity allows newcomers a further option of choosing between outstanding city or county services.

Regardless of where you choose to live in the Belleville area, you are buying an affordable investment at a great price! The St. Louis region has one of the lowest costs of living in the country and has recently been ranked as the sixth best place to work and live by Fortune magazine. St. Louis Metropolitan Area Median Property Value: $90,000

Belleville enjoys these same benefits and even lower home prices and living costs. As if our location wasn't enough, property values in Belleville are also increasing at a rate of about three to four percent per year, according to the Belleville Area Association of Realtors.

Neighborhood residents are active! Midwest charm and friendliness is apparent in every southwestern Illinois community. Citizens get involved in community decisions which affect their lives and neighborhoods. Residents participate in the political and community decision-making process to ensure “ownership” of decisions and actions. The citizens determine the quality of life and are the major resources in achieving the goal of neighborhood vitality. Area government supports the efforts initiated by residents and encourages cooperation of other community institutions with area neighborhoods. Whether you participate in the Citizen's Police Academy or donate to various groups and clubs, you will meet other active, concerned, and generous residents.

The over 100 neighborhood groups and organizations in the Belleville area alone, form pockets of involved people to create a colorful, friendly atmosphere throughout the area. This diversity comes in part, from a solid relationship with the region's second largest employer, The United States Air Force. Scott Air Force Base employs about 11,000 military and civilian personnel and is located approximately seven miles east of Belleville. This base brings a continual influx of professional, disciplined, and patriotic residents.

The Belleville Area Association of Realtors is an area-wide network of professional, knowledgeable realtors that stands ready to assist you as you search for a new home. Your decision to move yourself and/or your family is an important one. You need to explore all of your options. Just remember that the Belleville area is a great chance to buy an affordable, quality home of your choice, in a dynamic, involved region.

For More Information Contact:

1. Belleville Area Association of Realtors (618) 277-1980

2. BEPI (ask for the list of realtors; the list of apartments & property managers) (618) 233-2015

Belleville schools were recently designated as a “Blue Ribbon” district by Expansion Management Magazine, a national economic development publication. The magazine studied 600 school systems across the nation in the areas of graduation rates, test scores, and teacher- student ratios in comparison to the amount of money spent to educate a student. The local property tax rate of the Belleville public schools is among the lowest in the state, yet student achievement is among the best in the nation, delivering residents the “most bang for the buck” according to Expansion Management Magazine.

Belleville schools were also recognized by the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois for providing high academic standards at a low cost to the taxpayer. In 1996, both Belleville elementary and high school districts were chosen by the Illinois State Board of Educations as two of the ten districts statewide to serve as model school districts for academic and financial accountability.

Quality is a word that is always associated with the schools in Belleville. The students rank among the best in the state and nation based upon student achievement. Local elementary students score among the best on state administered tests. They score in the top 20% of schools, and 95% of all the student test scores either “Meet” or “Exceed” state standards. At the high school level, student ACT entrance exam scores are among the top 30% in the nation, and 79% of the high school graduates attend a two or four year college. A recent graduating class from our two public high schools received almost $4 million dollars in scholarships. Students, teachers, and administrators are regularly recognized for their outstanding achievements.

Awards include “Those Who Excel,” Southern Illinois University Excellence In Teaching, Emerson Excellence in Teaching, and Golden Apple awards. Students in junior high and high school also have opportunities to participate in many excellent co-curricular activities, including music, drama, other fine arts, student government and sports. There is something for every interest. Several high school state championships have been won in softball, volleyball, and speech. Other activities such as football, baseball, and basketball have participated in the state tournaments. There have also been individual state champions in golf and track. The high school bands have marched in Christmas parades in Florida and Georgia. Academically, the elementary and high school districts consistently receive first place in the State's “Odyssey of the Mind” creative thinking skill competition. Our students consistently win academic, fine arts, and sports scholarships to colleges and universities throughout the nation, including Harvard, M.I.T., Stanford, Northwestern, Yale, and the service academies.

The Belleville area also has several quality parochial and private schools to choose from. These include Zion Lutheran School, Governor French Academy, and Catholic elementary and high schools. There are nine elementary Catholic schools in the area, seven of which are located in Belleville. Althoff Catholic High School serves students in grades 9-12. Althoff has a strong academic program and offers many opportunities for students to participate in co-curricular activities. Approximately 90% of Althoff graduates go on to higher education.

We invite you to visit any of our elementary and secondary schools when in the Belleville area.

For More Information Call:

BEPI (for complete list of schools) (618) 233-2015
Diocesan Office of Education (618) 235-9601
Belleville District 118 (K-8) (618) 233-2830
Belleville Township H.S. District 201 (9-12) (618) 233-5070

Belleville Area College, with a total enrollment of 25,000, is one of the largest colleges in the St. Louis area. BAC recently celebrated 50 years of providing quality education to the residents of southwestern Illinois. The college opened in a converted Army barracks located behind Belleville Township High School, in 1946.

Today, the college operates three separate campuses. The Belleville Campus is very accessible as it is on the public bus line. The campus is also a future site for a MetroLink rail transit station, expected to be open in the year 2001. BAC operates branch campuses in Granite City and Red Bud, as well as 23 other learning centers throughout its 2,100 square mile district. The college also utilizes the latest technology by offering interactive video classes among its campuses. These classes electronically link all three campuses, allowing students to attend the campus closest to them.

The college is committed to providing quality educational opportunities, including more than 80 university transfer and occupational/vocational programs. Students may either lay the foundation for continuing their educations at four-year colleges or universities or receive hands-on training to embark on their careers of choice. Symbolizing the college's efforts to provide quality occupational programs is its state-of-the-art Industrial Training Center. Thousands of students are trained each year in a variety of occupations, ranging from electronics to welding.

Perhaps most importantly of all, BAC offers these programs at an affordable price. Students beginning their higher educations at BAC and then transferring to four-year schools save thousands of dollars over students who attend all four years at colleges or universities. Many BAC students pursue their education while juggling careers and family lives. That is why the Belleville Campus offers the Kids’ Club Campus Child Care Service, which is available days and evenings for only students at the campus. Payment is made on a per child, per day basis. Children must be at least three years old and be toilet trained. The Belleville Campus also offers several organizations and clubs that invite student participation. For more information call Belleville Area College at (618) 235-2700.

The graduates of our high schools also have many other options available to them for further education and training. Many of our graduates leave the area to attend a college or university. However, many excellent colleges and universities are within a very short distance of Belleville. St. Louis is well known for Washington University and St. Louis University. Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville is less than 30 minutes away, and the main SIU campus at Carbondale is about 2 hours away. McKendree College, located in nearby Lebanon, is one of the oldest colleges in the nation and offers a very strong academic program for students.

Belleville and the surrounding area offers a wide array of sports, outdoor, and leisure activities for the entire family. Residents, as well as visitors, enjoy such special local events as the Strawberry Festival in May, concerts on the square in June and July, the Deutschfest in June, the Oktoberfest and Apple Knock’en Days in September, the Chili Cook-Off and Pumpkin Pick’en days in October, and the Gingerbread Walk in November and December. Construction is underway on the Richland Creek Greenway Trail system. The Greenway trail is designed for bicycling, walking, and roller blading. The Greenway Trail will stretch miles from South Side Park to North End Park. The Greenway trail will provide a wide variety of interests along the way, ranging from outdoor art sculptures to nature's finest in plants and wildlife. The Greenway also serves as an outdoor nature learning center for area schools. The Greenway trail will connect to the MetroLink rail transit line at North End Park and follow the entire MetroLink line on the Illinois side of the river, thereby allowing the adventuresome to travel north following the Great River Road to Grafton, Illinois, some 60 miles northwest of Belleville.

Belleville has thirteen parks, encompassing 150 acres, located throughout the city. The largest are Citizen's Park, with 45 acres, and Bellevue Park,with 27 acres and a three acre lake. Parks are where family memories are made! The parks offer playgrounds, ball diamonds, picnic areas, tennis, basketball,volleyball and horseshoe courts, an Olympic size swimming pool, fitness trails and a community center.

The Belleville Parks and Recreation Department plans and supervises a year-round program of recreation and activities for residents of all ages. The department offers special classes for preschoolers, sports for young people and teenagers, and adult sports programs. In addition, several sports organizations in town provide youth with opportunities in soccer, football, softball, and baseball. Private recreation centers include Oak Hill Sports Complex, featuring tennis, swimming, and in-line skating; King's Point Racquet Club and Fitness Center, featuring tennis, fitness, and swimming; and basketball, and pee-wee soccer in addition to the outdoor soccer and volleyball courts. A new $1.7 million YMCA recently opened across from Belleville Area College, thanks to a record-setting fund raising drive; a downtown YMCA is also available.

The Belleville Teen Center is a non-profit corporation which operates a teen “club” offering a variety of programs and social activities for area teenagers. If golf is your game there are many public and private golf courses in and around the Belleville area as well as bowling centers with state other art automatic score keepers. Wildlife lovers have several options, including a quick trip to the St. Louis Zoo or Grant's Farm or a camping adventure to any one of the lakes located in Southern Illinois.

Shopping is convenient for all parts of Belleville. Numerous shops and restaurants fill the downtown area and adjacent historic district. The growing number of antique shops offer a special appeal to many shoppers and visitors, from apparel shops to jewelers to many specialty shops, downtown Belleville is the perfect place to find that special gift or to meet your daily needs. Many enjoy browsing through the shops or just enjoying the historic district sites. Several outdoor malls are convenient for the area's neighborhoods. Carlyle Plaza in the city's east end is anchored by Wal-Mart and Schnuck's and surrounded by several fast food restaurants. Westfield Plaza on the city's west end has Venture as its primary attraction, and Schnucks Swansea Plaza features Schnucks Supermarket as well as Grandpa Pigeon's.

Indoor shopping is available at St. Clair Square in nearby Fairview Heights, just 10 minutes away. There are many dining choices in the Belleville area. Full service restaurants are popular for business lunches, banquets, meetings, as well as family occasions. Ethnic dining includes Chinese, Mexican, and several Italian restaurants. Numerous cafe and lunch opportunities are available downtown. National and regional chain restaurants offer a wide variety of choices. Gourmet dining is available at several area restaurants offering unique dining settings.

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