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Holiday Inn Express site

A semitractor-trailer sits on the future site of the Holiday Inn Express in Murphysboro at the intersection of Illinois 13 and 127. Developer Joe Koppeis told the Murphysboro city council he plans to break ground on the hotel this summer.

Murphysboro — Several months after the proposed groundbreaking, the Murphysboro Holiday Inn Express is still hitting snags.

It has been slow going for Joe Koppeis — the project, located at the corner of Illinois 13 and 127 in Murphysboro, was slated to break ground in May but was then pushed back to the end of summer. He purchased the property in 2015. It formerly was home to the Apple Tree Inn which had fallen into disrepair.

As previously reported by The Southern, the Holiday Inn Express is said to have about 75 rooms when completed.

Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens said some of the delays are because of bureaucracy. Stephens explained that the application for the entryway into the property has been held up at the Illinois Department of Transportation. He said not being able to finalize this design and executing it has prevented the rest of construction to begin.

However, there was another set back that was cause for some quick action. Stephens said in an effort to build up the site, earth was laid. However because the ground was sandy underneath the new dirt, it began to shift this spring.

After the intense rains the region received in September, Stephens said this shift was accelerated and resulted in slide that broken sewer main. He said after visiting the site, he noticed sewage on the grounds and immediately began work to get the land cleaned up and called the Environment Protection Agency.

Luckily, Stephens said the Big Muddy River was well within its banks and no sewage made its way in. However, some did find its way into a retaining pond, and Stephens said that water was pumped out and run through the city’s water treatment facility.

Stephens was quick to not lay blame on any one party for the mess, but said, “it just highlights the difficulties of working on a location so close to the river.”

Photo: Work begins on Murphysboro hotel site

While the incident did cost the city money, Stephens said he has talked to Koppeis about it.

“He has said that he would make sure the city is made whole,” Stephens said.

Though there has been little physical development on the site, Stephens was still optimistic. He recalled something Koppeis told him: “I’ve never walked away from a project,” the developer told him.

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isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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Isaac Smith is a reporter covering Jackson County.

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