Metro East residents protesting interchange, fighting for their homes

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on July 11, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 11 at 5:25 PM

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Il (KMOV.com) – Metro East homeowners say they’re locked in a battle to save their homes.

They say as many as 40 homes along Ruby Lane are being threatened by a new 64 exit interchange in Fairview Heights.

Some city officials want Ruby Lane here to have its own exit to ease congestion east bound on Rt. 159 and around St. Clair Square Mall.

Which would require the nearby homes to be demolished. A fact residents say is ridiculous.

“I think it’s pretty stupid,” said Flo Keeling. Keeling has lived in her home on Ruby Lane for 47 years. The proposed project which would put a new half interchange for I-64 traffic just west of the RT. 159 exit would require her and homeowners like her to leave there homes.

Residents say having an exit less than a mile from a current one doesn’t make sense.

"I know they want to make Fairview Heights bigger, but this is the wrong place to put it," Keeling said.

News 4 contacted supporters of the $40 million project looking for answers.   

Alderwoman Sandy Baldwin says the new exit would help ease the traffic going to 159.

“I  have a lot of empathy for them,” Baldwin said. “No matter where it goes homeowners will be affected.”

But homeowners there think there’s a reason their neighborhood is the target.

“Oh i there’s more to it,” Keeling said. “Somebody is making some money developing 73 acres and putting a whole new shopping center in there.”

But Baldwin denies that claim, saying no one is personally benefitting.

“To my knowledge that is not the case,” she said. “Not at all.”

Alderwoman Baldwin does admit the city is eyeing more development around the new exit interchange, however. 

The project will depend on federal funding for the bulk of the $40 million. The remainder is slated to be picked up by the State of Illinois.

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