Bryan Vogt: Welcome back to Ready, Set, Sold. I’m your host, Bryan Vogt. As I mentioned earlier in the program, I’m honored to have the mayor of Fairview Heights, Illinois, Mayor Mark Kupsky. I wanted to make sure I got that right, Mayor? Hopefully-
Mark Kupsky: You do.
Bryan Vogt: I hope I did. All right. Thanks so much for joining us. How you doing today?
Mark Kupsky: Bryan, I’m great. Thanks for having me on the show. I look forward to sharing some things with Fairview Heights with your listeners today.
Bryan Vogt: That’s exactly what we’re looking for, too. Always amazed by when we’ve had these different talks with mayors of Belleville and Shiloh, we’ve got other mayors lined up, of what’s really going on in the city, and how much that affects the real estate, as far as the housing market and where you live at.
By getting out the word of the things that are happening in Fairview Heights in particular is a big plus not only for the home sellers, but also encourages home buyers to move into the city itself.
With that said, just a little background. Off-air, we talked, and it’s kind of amazing … He prefers to go by Mark, so I’m going to go by Mark …
Mark Kupsky: Great.
Bryan Vogt: … has been with the city, involved with the city, for the past 25 years and he’s held alderman, city clerk, treasurer, and now mayor. Is that correct, Mayor?
Mark Kupsky: That is correct. Kind of unique; I’ve held every elected office and I decided to run for mayor, I think that gave me tremendous insight into the operations, to help us build into the community for the future.
Bryan Vogt: That’s awesome. That just shows the love that you have for the city and the commitment you have and that’s really what cities need and we’re seeing a lot of that in the Metro East, of the long term commitment that the mayors and the people are committed to. That’s a great thing.
What I wanted to kind of touch on is maybe highlighting some of the things that Fairview has that many people don’t know about, and we like to go to the horse’s mouth, shall we say, and maybe there’s some things that you can point to us that the rest of the area doesn’t know about.
Mark Kupsky: No, that’s great, Bryan. I’d be glad to do that.
Our city is unique in that we are one of the youngest communities to develop in this St. Louis metro area and the Metro East. Our city will be 50 years old in 2019. What started as a rural community, now is the crossroads of southwestern Illinois.
Most people know Fairview Heights as the shopping mecca of southwestern Illinois. People come to Fairview Heights from all over southern Illinois, western Kentucky, St. Louis, because of the mall, all of our fantastic shopping and restaurants. But there’s really so much more to Fairview Heights. We really are a community.
People that visit, they hit the retail districts of the community and that’s what they see. They look for the bargains and all the great shopping but behind all the shopping, we have a community of residents. Our city is just under 18,000 in population. Because of the shopping, we grow to over 50,000 in the daytime, in excess of 60,000 around Christmas. But the 17,800 residents really make up what we call a community.
What’s really great about Fairview Heights is we have a variety of housing. We have people who have lived in Fairview Heights since its inception, but we’ve had a lot of transplants. We really feel our community is kind of a melting pot of people from all around the world.
And when I say the world, it’s really true. Because of our proximity to Scott Air Force Base, and the importance of the base, we do have people that have lived literally around the world and have chosen the Metro East and Fairview Heights to call home. We really think that’s important and we’ve been excited over the last several years, we’ve seen several new home developments.
We’ve seen several new neighborhoods, older homes, more historic, that are revitalizing, and so we really have homes and housing to fit all needs of all people. And in addition, there’s so much more that our community has, Bryan.
We have seven parks in the community. Our largest park, Moody is very popular. We were one of the first areas in the community to have a walking trail. Great news, we’re preparing to pave that trail, so it’ll be paved in the next few weeks. We have walking trail, ball fields. We just put a dog park in.
I mention things like that because as mayor, I think quality of life is so important for people when they’re looking for places to live. We are a thriving community. And when I say thriving, I’ll tell you why. Not just because of the retail growth, Bryan, but I’m so excited for your listeners to know that we will be breaking ground later this month on a recreation complex, a $19 million recreational facility, that will include a gymnasium, full of fitness equipment, multi-purpose rooms, where we will hold things like Zumba and aerobics. It will have a full aquatics area, with water slides, splash pads, a zero-depth entry for those seniors and those that need easy access to the water.
You’ll have a four lane pool. It’ll have a climbing area with 12 different climbing stations. Indoor walking trail. And that’s not all, because on the outside, we’ll also include a soccer field and track, walking trail and dog park. And the reason I mention that Bryan, is not the just the investment that the city is making, but how important that is to the quality of life, in addition to some bike trails that we’re working on.
Now, another unique thing about Fairview Heights, your listeners probably don’t know, Bryan, is that we are one of few, when I say few, only one or two left in the state of Illinois, communities, we have no city property taxes. That’s right. You’ll probably say, “Well, Mark. How do you fund all those things like the recreation complex and all your public services and outstanding snow removal in the winter?” We do it through sales tax and we do it through the retail business district and we feel that people that visit our city, share in providing the services for all the residents.
Those are some great things that are happening right now in Fairview Heights, and that’s just to name a few.
Bryan Vogt: I love what you said and there is … everyone does know about the mall, I mean, that’s been there. That’s an iconic situation there, the mall, and all the other retails that you have. But I think that … I love the point that you made, Mark, and that is simply … there are so many places, in fact, the majority of Fairview Heights, that you wouldn’t even know that there was a mall there. Meaning is that you have the access to the mall, to all these great shopping areas, plus see, the benefit of not having a sales tax, but that you’re actually in a community.
And I think that’s the part that sometimes get missed. I’m so glad you brought that out. You can literally be two minutes away from the mall, but be in a fantastic subdivision that you have really no bearing that anything else is around you except some great people. And that’s important for people, I think, to realize.
Mark Kupsky: Absolutely, you know, you make a great point there. As a local resident, one of the great things is you get to know all the local access roads around the shopping areas during the holidays, of course, you know traffic can be crazy during the holidays, as they are in any big area. You get to ways around.
We have two great elementary, grade-school districts. We host an annual art fair, which is … the very first in the St. Louis area. We’re really excited about the things we do for the citizens of the community to really have that community feel. As mayor, that’s the most important thing for me.
Two things are listening to the people and then, building things for the public to make us a community.