Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Local Officials Celebrate Grand Opening of the New $15 Million Public Safety Building at the Emerson Park Transit Center

Project was Made Possible by a Rebuild Illinois Grant and will Help Bolster Security Collaboration

llinois Governor JB Pritzker gathered alongside dozens of local officials, agencies, businesses and organizations on Thursday, July 11, at Emerson Park Transit Center to celebrate the official grand opening of the new $15 million, state-of-the-art Public Safety Building. This facility and the operations within will help bolster communications and security collaboration among Metro Transit, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, Metro Transit Public Safety, the Bureau of Transit Police and other public safety partners – as safety and security remains a top regional priority. It will also enable St. Clair County Transit District to better serve riders in St. Clair County and an the entire MetroLink system.

“Since the passage of Rebuild Illinois, we’ve taken unprecedented steps to modernize our transportation system and improve public infrastructure, and it’s always a proud moment to see those historic investments come to life.” Said Governor JB Pritzker. “Today, I am excited to celebrate the grand opening of the new Public Safety Center, a testament to the progress of Rebuild Illinois and the dedication of the St. Clair County Transit District. With a $15 million investment, the Center will provide a safer and more efficient transit experience for the St. Clair County community, marking another step forward in our mission to improve safety, mobility, and quality of life throughout Illinois.”

The recently completed two-story, 16,000 square-foot facility currently houses the St. Clair County CENCOM West 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatch Center, office space for St. Clair County MetroLink Sheriff’s Deputies, and public restrooms and water fountain for transit riders and operators. It will also become the second location for the MetroLink Operations Control Center. The building features an expansive dispatch floor with state-of-the-art technology, a conference room, office space, a training area, holding cells, a break room, call center, server room and more.

The $15 million project was funded in part by a $9,975,000 Rebuild Illinois grant awarded in January 2022 by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, along with additional funding received from St. Clair County Transit District and Bi-State Development. The building is owned and operated by St. Clair County Transit District. The project team included FGM Architects, Poettker Construction, Southwestern Illinois Building Trades, BriC Partnership, Kreher Engineering, Gonzalez Companies, Larson Engineering and RTM Engineering. Construction commenced in January 2023 and was completed in April 2024.

“This project is a critical public safety investment for East St. Louis, St. Clair County and the entire St. Louis metropolitan region,” commented Herb Simmons, director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency. “I would personally like to thank Governor Pritzker for the tangible difference he is making in the state of Illinois.”

In addition to the new Public Safety Building, Emerson Park Transit Center is among the first Metro Transit Centers to undergo the installation of gates and fencing as part of the phased installation approach to Metro Transit’s Secure Platform Plan. It is also one of five “Transit Stop Transformation” project sites. In August 2021, Citizens for Modern Transit and AARP in St. Louis converted the concrete area between the bus bays and MetroLink entrance into an interactive, vibrant-colored, jazz-themed space with greenery, shaded seating, canopies and a mural.

“Governor Pritzker has created the transit trifecta at Emerson Park,” said St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern. “This project benefits public safety, supports employment opportunities and modernizes our MetroLink facilities – and for that we are very grateful.”