Chester, Illinois - Home of Popeye

Beautification/Tourism Commission

The Chester Beautification & Tourism Commission was combined into one commission in 2016.  See Ordinance.  The Commission will meet on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. (unless otherwise indicated), with the exception of December, in the Chester Municipal Building, 1330 Swanwick Street, Chester, Illinois.

Meeting dates for 2021 are as follows:
January 21                       July15
February 18                     August 19
March 18                          September 16
April 15                            October 21
May 20                             November 18
June 17                             No December meeting

Members and Officers:
Brenda Owen, President
Melissa Gross
Mary Ann Heberlie
JoAnn Simmons
Donella Butler
Cynthia Lawder
Linda Rader
Bob Lockhart
Carla Draves
Tony West
Lynda Sympson, Executive Director of Chamber of Commerce

January 2020 Agenda
January 2020 Minutes
February 2020 Agenda
February 2020 Minutes
March 2020 cancelled
April 2020 cancelled
May 2020 cancelled
June 2020 Agenda – Zoom
June 2020 Minutes
July 2020 Agenda
July 2020 Minutes
August 2020 Agenda
August 2020 Minutes
September 2020 Agenda
September 2020 Minutes
October 2020 Agenda
October 2020 Minutes
January 2021 Agenda
January 2021 Minutes
February 2021 Cancelled
March 2021 Agenda
April 2021 Agenda
April 2021 Minutes
May 2021 Agenda
May 2021 Minutes
June 2021 Agenda
July 2021 Agenda
July 2021 Minutes
September 2021 Agenda

Projects the Commission has or is working on……….

  • The Take Pride Award is to recognize commercial and residential properties that have enhanced the beauty of our community. Recognition is acknowledged by placing a sign in a winner’s yard plus photo of the residence and owners in the Harold Tribune and County Journal newspapers. One or two awards are presented per month April through October.  Nominations can be submitted to either of the committee members, the newspapers or telephone 826 3454.
  • The Anti-Liter Program was started a couple years ago involving a campaign for grade school students striving to make them aware of the problem of litter in Chester on streets, sidewalks, parks and yards.  Beautification Commission sponsored a contest for Grades 1-8 to submit a new Anti-Litter logo and slogan. Two hundred sixty-five students entered for three $75.00 prizes; T-shirts with their original artwork were presented to the three winners. Pizza parties were given for two classes with 100% participation in submitting a poster. The three winners have their slogans on posters currently displayed in businesses around town: Don’t Litter be a Home Run Hitter; Throw it Away, Save the Day; and Just Trashcan-it to Save the Planet. There are plans for additional school projects to improve the awareness of keeping Chester beautiful and being proud of our town.
  • Beautification Commission was involved in the renovation of the City Steps. Matthew Heberlie finished his Eagle Scout project of refurbishing this historic landmark. The hard work and ideas for improvement are credited to Matthew; it was a monumental project that resulted in a beautiful site. The Beautification Commission oversaw his project providing final approval on design and funding for the material in the stone columns. The Tourism Commission paid for banners and the River Rats donated two benches located at the top entrance. Chester residences and visitors are encouraged to visit the steps; the top and main entrance is located on East Buena Vista near the Randolph County Court House.
  • Home grown fruits and vegetables, bakery goods and jams, hand-made items etc. are sold Saturday mornings at the Farmers Market beginning in May and our held on Saturday mornings. This year the market will be near the Welcome Center by the Chester Bridge. The public begin arriving at 7:30 AM and continue until goods are sold out which is usually by noon. The market will continue until the last Saturday in September. For additional information including selling at the market, contact David Eggemeyer at 618-708-2753. There is no charge to vendors for selling at the market.
  • The Old Rock Bridge is located below a scenic cataract area off Old Rock Bridge Road. The bridge dates back to the mid 1800’s and is beautifully constructed with a triple brick arch and stone walls. The Committee has submitted a request to the Illinois National Historic Preservation Agency to place the bridge on the National Historical Register.  Photos of the bridge can be seen at
  • A joint effort of the Beautification Commission and the City of Chester has constructed a park on the Chester River Front.  The City received a $25,000 grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to create the park which will include a 300 ft long boat shaped flower bed, picnic benches & tables and a meandering walkway. Construction is complete. Committee members are Carolyn Schwent , Tom Sauer, Cathy Sauer, Kevin Diercks, Ned Carlton, and Jeff Kerkhover.
  • Eagle Trek eagle watching/tours – at the Kaskaskia Lock and Dam usually held in February.

Picture of Stone Cottage 2

  • Renovation began the summer of 2010 with the objective to create a small museum and a memorial walkway at this historic Old Stone Cottage ca 1850 located on Chestnut St. just south of the Randolph County Courthouse.   A small group of devoted volunteers have accomplished much: New guttering, painting, tuck pointing and clearing of many vines and brush. In 2012 a flagstone memorial walk with engraved names was completed.  For more information or to donate toward the renovation, contact Linda Sympson at the Chamber of Commerce office 618-826.2721 or Sandra Starr at 618-604-9106.


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