MY O'TOWN HOME - O'FALLON, IL
O'Fallon, IL has seen tremendous growth since we moved here 16 years ago. The population back then was 16,000 and it's 25,000 today. It's been called the fastest growing city this side of the Mississippi River.
What drives the economic growth of this fair city? It could be its proximity to Scott Air Force Base, the largest employer in St. Clair County, and because O'Fallon has top notch school districts that appeal to many families. The presence of Scott AFB and military relocation has helped keep home resale values high. I-64 provides easy access in and out of the city and makes it very viable for new businesses that now line the freeway. The same Interstate means St. Louis is a mere 20 minutes away.
It's a city where there are vast fields of corn, soybeans and wheat in the summer and fall, where many newly built homes in subdivisions share the landscape. The established neighborhoods teem with the lush foliage of trees, shrubs, and lawns, whereas newly developed communities have a combination of brown dirt and newly planted young trees and shrubs.
It's a delight to see the homes decorated with yellows and browns of the fall when corn gets harvested--it's time for Halloween, and Thanksgiving is sure to come. The air is crisp and cool in the fall when leaves on trees turn yellow to gold to brown and fall gloriously to the ground. Many a week will go by when neighborhoods rake and blow and burn in some instances, until the temperature makes it impossible to work outside. Sometimes the wind blows so strong that the pile of leaves you just worked on gets blown all away to neighbors' yards and vice versa. Another good thing about O'Fallon-neighbors not getting upset over a mountain of leaves that settle on one's yard.
When winter comes, it could be a beautiful one or just an ordinary Illinois winter. Sometimes it's very cold with wind, snow, and ice but sometimes it's mild as can be. This year could be a mild one compared with last year's winter when a terrific ice storm visited the city and left many in darkness for days. But who would mind the beautifully decorated homes with myriad of colorful lights, white and multicolored, strung on front porches, on eaves, trees, and shrubs? It's even magical when we have an inch or more of white snow to let us know that all is right with the city. In spite of the cold, we rarely have a white Christmas but that's not to say it's not a special holiday. It's celebrated and enjoyed or not, by those who live here.
It's still spring here when all the fresh green and young growth are in full display after the splendor of colorful perennials have gone away. The smell of freshly mowed lawns is a treat and we know that trees will be full of green foliage again, with lots of inviting shade underneath. The temperature is still nice and cool, especially in early evening and morning. Prom has come and gone and high school graduation ended just yesterday. Many a family will be enjoying their college age kids for maybe one last time before they go off to bigger and better things. But the promise of a warm summer is not too far away.
When summer rolls around, some families would have moved away and new residents move in as part of the cycle. Time to break out the swimming suits because the community pool will be open. The smell of barbeque permeates the neighborhood since the grills are cleaned and primed. Time to service the lawnmower because grass is greener and grows longer and faster here in the summer. You'll hear shrieks and yells of children playing, the sounds of summer intermingling with the lawnmower. The nicest thing about this city is what I saw on Mother's Day--this little girl was sitting in front of her house at a table with a pitcher of lemonade for sale. You'll see a lot more of that in O'Fallon when summer comes.