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July 14, 2000

Governor Announces $5.3 Million In Tourism Grants

SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan today announced $5.3 million in statewide tourism grants. The funds come from three separate tourism-related grant programs administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.

Grant awards from the International Grant Program, the Tourism Attraction Development Grant Program and the Tourism Marketing Partnership Program were announced jointly today by Ryan.

Through the International Grant Program, the state is investing $3.6 million to help local convention and tourism bureaus attract international visitors. The Tourism Attraction Development Grant Program will disperse $1.4 million to municipalities, counties, businesses and not-for-profit groups to improve existing tourist sites and develop new attractions. $216,000 from the state's Tourism Marketing Partnership Program will help communities promote and market specific tourism events and attractions.

Grant recipients and award amounts are specified below. INTERNATIONAL GRANT PROGRAM

Ryan today announced more than $3.6 million from the state's International Grant Program to assist seven Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) coordinate international tourism efforts. The bulk of the funding will go to the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau.

Statistics released earlier this month showed a 5.2% increase in the number of overseas visitors to Illinois in 1999. The state currently ranks sixth among states as a destination for international travelers and the City of Chicago ranks ninth as the most popular city.

"With the number of international tourists reaching unprecedented levels, we want to make sure Illinois is on everyone's travel itinerary," Ryan said. "It's also important that once our overseas visitors return to their native lands, they are able to share stories of a remarkable experience in Illinois with their family and friends. That kind of personal marketing is invaluable in attracting even more visitors from abroad."

The Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) administers the International Grant Program through the Illinois Trade Office. The convention and visitors bureaus will use the funds for programs such as multi-lingual brochures and videos, websites and to help defray expenses for participation in trade shows and sales missions.

The Springfield CVB, for instance, will use its funding to support marketing efforts for Route 66 which has been very popular among German tourists. The grant to the Greater Woodfield CVB will assist them with the upcoming 2000 World Handball Tournament and Rockford will be able to continue promotion of agricultural tours and its Swedish heritage.

"Overseas visitors to Illinois last year pumped over $1.65 billion dollars into the state's economy," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "With international travelers outspending domestic ones by a four to one margin, we will continue to aggressively market Illinois as a premier inland destination and the City of Chicago as its gateway."

Grant AwardeesAmount
Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau$3,315,700.00
Rockford Area CVB $245,940.00
Oak Park Visitors Bureau $38,050.00
Chicago Plus $23,863.70
Greater Woodfield CVB $20,000.00
Quincy CVB $17,910.50
Springfield CVB $12,630.00
Quad Cities CVB $7,371.40
TOTAL $3,681,465.60


Ryan today announced more than $1.4 million in Tourism Attraction Development Grants to assist 21 organizations in developing and improving tourism attractions. The grants will be used for a variety of projects including new bicycle racks along the I&M Canal State Trail, a Lincoln historical marker at the Mount Pulaski Courthouse and new parking lots for cars and tour buses along the National Scenic Byway of the Meeting of the Great Rivers in Grafton.

"We want to capitalize on the success we're having in drawing both domestic and international visitors to Illinois," Ryan said. "By improving current sites and helping develop new attractions, we can provide travelers with even more reasons to visit Illinois."

The Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA), Bureau of Tourism awarded the funds through the Tourism Attraction Development Grant Program (TAP). The grants are awarded to municipalities, counties, not-for-profit groups and for-profit businesses and can be used to improve existing tourist sites, or for the development of new attractions with the potential to attract tourists from outside a 100-mile radius and generate increased overnight stays.

"These grants are an extension of our increased tourism marketing efforts," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "Tourism brought in $22 billion to Illinois last year, and as we continue to compete for tourist dollars we need to enhance each visitors' experience and expand the number of tourism options."

3-D Chicago, Pier Walk, Navy Pier Chicago, Cook County will receive $81,117.00 to conduct and enhance the Pier Walk exhibition as a millennium celebration at Navy Pier in Chicago. The world famous Spanish artist, Eduardo Chillida, will be the headliner for this year's exhibit, premiering a major new sculpture along with sculptures from more than 120 of the best emerging, mid-career and international artists exhibiting in Pier Walk 2000. The grant funds will be used to assist in the assembling of the art work as well as providing a lecture series for the public. A interpretive map will be provided at the exhibit.

Mt. Pulaski Township Historical Society, Mt. Pulaski, Logan County will receive $2,515.38 for the design, fabrication and erection of a historical marker to be placed on the lawn of the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse. The selection of this project will enhance the "Looking for Lincoln" program to guide visitors throughout Illinois' Lincoln history.

Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Bloomington, McLean County will receive $62,724.48 to purchase sound equipment and lighting to support the construction of a new open-air theatre on the grounds of Ewing Manor in Bloomington. The theatre is nearing completion, and the Festival is in need of new lighting, sound and communication equipment. The equipment purchases will enable the theatre to be used for future productions.

Alton Museum of History & Art, Inc. Alton, Madison County will receive $5,079.00 for construction of a replica of a Pilot House. This historical project will support the expansion of the current riverboat exhibit within the Alton Museum of History and Art. The interactive exhibit will be a one of a kind display of everyday riverboat life. Children of all ages will have an opportunity to learn and experience firsthand the vital part that the Mississippi River has played in the history of our State. This project will compliment the Great River Road Heritage Tourism Project.

Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau, Carbondale, Perry County will receive $40,000.00 for the purchase of lighted silhouette exhibits to support several holiday themes and activities associated with the DuQuoin State Fair grounds. The following list reflects the themes and activities planned using this exhibit: "The Finish Line"; "Holiday Lights"; "Blue Ribbon Arena"; "The Midway"; "The Grandstand Stage"; and "Fair Food'; indoor musical productions by choirs and community concert bands; indoor display of decorated Christmas Trees; indoor visits to Santa Claus and his helpers; indoor activities for children, including making ornaments and decorations and outdoor holiday carolers. This grant will support the Convention and Visitors Bureau's attempt to create a variety of entertainment activities using the State Fair Grounds thus producing additional opportunities for economic development in the Southern Illinois region.

Central Illinois Tourism Development Office in partnership with the Decatur Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau , Springfield, Sangamon County will receive a $9,750.00 grant to host a Disney Workshop to be held in September 2000 in Decatur, Illinois. The Disney Institute, keys to Excellence professional development program showcase business strategies used by Walt Disney World Resort and ways they can be applied to other organizations. By providing tourism action groups with this renowned and incredibly popular program, participants will benchmark the best practices of the Walt Disney World Company and discover ways to apply a little "Disney Magic" to their organizations.

Canal Corridor Association, Chicago, Grundy & LaSalle counties will receive $18,676.00 to purchase a total of 150 bicycle racks to be placed in the Grundy and LaSalle communities along the I&M Canal State Trail. This project will enhance the bicyclists' experience along the 60 mile trail and thus enhance heritage tourism by allowing the visitor a safe location for their bikes while they stop and enjoy the shops and sites along the historic trail. The purchase of the bike racks completes a $8.35 million dollar transportation enhancement project and promotes the interagency alliance between the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.

Pulaski County Development Association, Pulaski, Pulaski County will receive a $134,219.00 to develop and construct a campground facility at the Ohio River Recreational Area. The project includes land acquisition, construction of 25 camping sites for recreational vehicles, restroom and shower facilities, landscaping, electric and water hookups at each site, and waste dumping facilities. This development will enhance the visitors experience along the National Scenic Byway and the Heritage Tourism region.

New Salem Lincoln League, Petersburg, Menard County will receive $11,250.00 to hire visiting scholars and artisans at the Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site. With increased popularity of the "Looking for Lincoln" Heritage Tourism project, visitor numbers have increased at the site, hence the need for additional employees to host an improved interpretive program. Expanding the existing visiting scholars and artisans programs will both increase the site staff's existing knowledge thereby helping to improve their interpretive skills as well as provide the visitors the opportunity to learn more through demonstrations and lecture series.

David Davis Mansion Foundation, Bloomington, McLean County will receive $10,000.00 to employ a contractor(s) to coordinate the work of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency historians with the David Davis Mansion site managers in creating and implementing a new interpretive program focusing on Abraham Lincoln's life in McLean County. The program's overall theme will take visitors on a journey exploring them mythic dimensions of Lincoln's world in Bloomington; the program's goal will be to help visitors discover what Lincoln drew from this community that made him uniquely western and uniquely American, while showing visitors what happened to Lincoln while he was in Bloomington to produce the man who became our nations "Redeemer".

Telephone Museum Foundation of Gridley, Gridley, McLean County will receive $66,430.00 to construct a new building for the Telephone Museum's historic collection of 200 telephones dating from 1890-1999. Mechanical, electrical, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, carpentry, painting, flooring, concrete work, masonry, excavating, and roof work will be accomplished with this grant. The museum will commemorate the hundred-year evolution of the communication services in rural Illinois. Construction of the museum will enhance local and state tourism by adding a north central link to a chain of regional museums and historic sites that lie within twenty miles of Gridley, Illinois.

City of Grafton, Grafton, Jersey County will receive $97,700.00 to construct two new tourism parking lots to be located on two clusters of vacant lots along the National Scenic Byway of the Meeting of the Great Rivers. The parking lots will provide easy opportunity for tourists to stop and walk around, orient themselves to the Grafton shops and restaurants. The lots will allow for 120 car spaces and three tour bus spaces.

Vandalia Main Street, Vandalia, Fayette County will receive $14,250.00 to construct a bronze statuary of Abraham Lincoln, on a seated bench. The sculpture will be interactive in nature, with room on the bench for individuals to sit. The Statue will be placed in "Lincoln Park" and will be situated directly across from the front of the Vandalia State House. This project is the second phase of Vandalia "Looking for Lincoln" project that was used to design the statuary and the construction of this project successfully adds to the Heritage Tourism program.

Chicago Theatre Group, Inc./Goodman Theatre, Chicago, Cook County will receive $500,000.00 to assist in the renovation of the theatre. Masonry restoration, millwork, acoustic fabric, painting, performance rigging systems and stage platforms, performance lighting, audience seating and interior and exterior limestone masonry will be accomplished with this grant. The theatre attracts over 275,000 visitors annually and infused nearly $40 million into Chicago's economy in the theatre's first year of operation. The renovation project will enhance the visitors experience and enable Goodman to create extraordinary theatre productions and programs that challenge, entertain and stimulate the imagination of audiences.

Illinois Oil Field Museum, Oblong, Crawford County will receive $10,500.00 to hire a consultant to complete a feasibility study for the development of a museum interpretation, collection, management and operations plan. These steps are crucial in order to begin the process that will lead to the construction of a permanent interactive facility interpreting the Oil industry of Illinois. The Illinois Oil Field Museum will add a significant attraction to the Heritage Tourism project, Crossroads of Illiana.

City of Macomb, Macomb, McDonough County will receive $50,000.00 to renovate the new location of the Western Museum. The acquired building will provide adequate accessibility and parking for the museum. Interior renovations include erecting walls, electrical work, and installation of restrooms that meet American Disabilities Act standards. Established in 1974 the museum consists of a collection of historical artifacts reminiscent of the Illinois Military Tract that was designated by Congress in the form of land grants to the War of 1812 veterans. Displays include looms, farm tools, plows, buggies, period clothing, Civil War items, hunting and trapping equipment, early medical and dental instruments, depression glass and many other items significant to the War of 1812. The relocation of this attraction will provide a significant attraction for the Great River Road Heritage Tourism project.

City of Cairo, Cairo, Alexander County will receive $50,000.00 to purchase period furnishing for the eleven room brick mansion known as Riverlore. Adding furnishings to this historic Manor will provide an addition of overnight stays for the beautifully restored bed and breakfast. The mansion will be open year round and will provide, a much needed, overnight facility to the Ohio River Scenic Route National Scenic Byway and Heritage Tourism Project.

The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, DuPage County will receive $59,070.81 to construct the first of eight information centers called Visitors Stations that will make the Arboretum's grounds more accessible and understandable for the visitors. The Visitors Stations will be marketed to attract broader audiences, both locally and from outside the 100 mile radius. Plumbing, roofing, stone paving, steel work, painting, carpentry, paving, landscaping, fencing, will be accomplished with this grant.

The City of Rockford, Coronado Theatre, Rockford, Rockford County will receive $117,125.00 to renovate the Corned Theatre Orchestral Shell. The grant will be used towards the manufacture delivery and installation of an orchestral concert enclosure system for the Coronado Theatre. The development of this project, is expected to provide an estimated $3.5 - $5 million per year in economic development for the northern Illinois region. The theatre will be open year round for a projected 159 events.

Chana School Foundation, Oregon, Illinois, Ogle County will receive $99,943.00 to restore the historic school's original 1883 features and add some modern conveniences. The building will be wired for electricity, and plumbing and heating/cooling systems will be installed. Refurbished windows, doors, flooring, wall and ceiling tin, light fixtures and wall coverings, and many other exterior landscaping features will be upgraded with this grant. Once completed the Chana School will be used to educate children and adults as well as providing the visitors to the region with a experience life of long ago in this turn of the century school.

Homewood-Flossmoor Racquet Club, Homewood, Cook County will receive $20,165.00 to resurface and purchase two windscreens for two tennis courts in order to bid on major tennis tournaments for the Chicago Southland area. Funding this project provides the best opportunity for Chicago Southland to host the USTA National Junior Open in July, 2000. TOURISM MARKETING PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM

Ryan today announced more than $216,000 in grants from the state's Tourism Marketing Partnership Program to help 30 organizations promote local tourist destinations. The attractions and events receiving funding include the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, balloon festivals in Danville and Centralia, and summer celebrations in Aurora, New Salem and Rock Island.

"These funds will help local organizations gear up their promotional campaigns to maximize their tourism potential," Ryan said. "A lot of time and hard work is put into planning these wonderful events, and these grants will assist our local partners in getting the word out so we can bring more visitors to Illinois."

The Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) administers the matching grants, which are funded through the Tourism Marketing Partnership Program. Municipalities, counties and local not-for-profit groups that promote and market tourism attractions and events are eligible to apply for the funds. The money can then be used to fund projects such as brochures, placement of advertisements and web site development.

"Local events are a driving force in Illinois' tourism industry and mutually beneficial to both the state and the region," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "Through the Tourism Marketing Partnership Program we can assist communities in promoting themselves in order to attract more tourists to their region and enhance the economic benefit for everyone."

Annual funding for the program is nearly one-and-a-half million dollars with grants awarded three times each fiscal year. These are the final grants for Fiscal Year 2000.

Tourism Marketing Partnership Program Grant Awards for the Final Cycle of FY00

OrganizationProjectGrant Award
Geneva Chamber of Commerce100,000 brochures to promote the area$5,910.22
Kankakee County CVBRe-design web site to be interactive $1,550.00
St. Charles CVB35,000 brochures to promote the area$5,687.50
Rockford Park District50,000 to promote 11 museums in area$2,209.40
Aurora Area CVB 20,000 brochures for summer events$6,185.27
Blues on the Fox 2000Advertise the summer jazz festival in Aurora$4,339.60
Midway Village & Museum CenterDevelopment of web site to promote Midway Village in Rockford$1,689.50
Northern IL Tourism Development OfficeDevelop web site to promote the regional area$1,500.00
Ravinia FestivalAdvertisements to promote the 65th Ravinia Festival$14,984.10
Bishop Hill Arts Council50,000 brochures and radio ads to promote the Bishop Hill area$2,790.00
Peoria Area CVBRe-design the bureau's web site$7,375.00
The Downtown Rock Island Arts FestivalBillboards and advertising to promote the summer festival$3,546.00
Rail Charity Golf Classic, Inc.60,000 brochures to promote the annual State Farm Rail Classic Women's Golf tournament$1,910.00
New Salem Lincoln League30,000 brochures to promote the annual summer theatre festival$1,874.25
Danville Area CVB200,000 brochures & billboards for the annual Oldsmobile Balloon Classic Festival$6,574.32
Greene County Tourism50,000 brochures to promote the area$1,697.50
IL Shakespeare FestivalAdvertisements to promote the annual summer festival in Bloomington$6,195.91
Carbondale CTB300,000 Shawnee Hills Wine Trail brochures, & ads to promote "Birding Around Carbondale"$7,605.50
Centralia Chamber of Commerce 25,000 brochures & billboards to promote the 11th annual Balloon Festival$2,632.80
City of Vandalia100,000 brochures to promote the area$3,735.00
Hotel-Motel Association of IllinoisWeb site development$10,000.00
Evanston Chamber of Commerce45,000 brochures to promote Evanston as a destination$12,047.50
Chicago Architecture Foundation250,000 brochure in 5 languages, & ads to promote architecture in Chicago $13,921.50
John G. Shedd Aquarium500,000 brochures to promote the Shedd Aquarium$10,995.00
Chicago Horticultural SocietyAdvertisements to promote the Botanic Garden$2,327.40
Museum of Contemporary ArtAdvertisements to promote the Museum $4,869.00
Near South Planning BoardAds to promote the annual Printer's Row Book Fair in Chicago$9,132.00
Lincoln Park Zoological Society100,000 brochures to promote the Zoo$3,697.50
Mayor's Office of Special EventsBrochures and ads to promote the early summer music events in Chicago $52,093.01
Gaelic Events ClubAdvertisements to promote the annual Gaelic Festival$7,820.00


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