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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 1999

Governor Signs Bill To Strengthen Tourism Industry

CATERVILLE -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed legislation that will strengthen Illinois' $21 billion tourism industry.

The governor signed House Bill 2147 at the B.A.S.S Quest '99 Power Boating and Angling Tournament, which is being held at three different lakes in Southern Illinois. House Bill 2147 is designed to coordinate and promote the development of tourism throughout state government.

"These are the kinds of events that we would like to draw to our state," Ryan said. "Having a society such as B.A.S.S. choosing Illinois for a tournament of this magnitude will not only encourage tourists to come to Illinois, but also experience it."

HB 2147 creates a tourism coordinating committee consisting of the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, the office of Lieutenant Governor Corinne Wood, the Department of Transportation and several other state agencies. And in addition, the Committee will include four members of the General Assembly. The Committee is charged with coordinating the promotion and development of tourism activities throughout state government.

"The success of Illinois' tourism is largely due to the efforts of local tourism officials. My administration is committed to supporting these efforts so that we can draw even more visitors to our state," Ryan said.

The chief sponsors of House Bill 2147 were state Sen. James Clayborne, D-East St. Louis and Rep. Thomas Holbrook, D-Belleville.

In addition, the governor announced more than $451,000 in grants to help six local tourism councils develop attractions for visitors. The grants are funded through the Tourism Attraction Development Grant Program, which allows municipalities, counties and local non-for-profit groups to develop and improve tourists attractions. The grants are administered by DCCA, and the funds can cover up to 50 percent of the cost of a tourism development project, up to a maximum of $100,000.

The City of Golconda will receive a $13,560 grant to match funds awarded by the Federal Highway Administration for the development of an Interpretive Plan for the Ohio Scenic Route. The Kinkaid-Ree's Creek Conservatory District will receive a $45,496.65 grant to assist in the development of 28 RV camping spaces adjacent to Kinkaid Lake. The City of Tuscola will receive $100,000 grant to extend the existing Factory Outlet Stores access road to the entry of the new Amishland Country Village. The Charles Perdew Museum Association will receive a grant of $92,826 to be used for the stabilization, reconstruction and renovation of the Charles Perdew home and workshop located in Henry, Illinois. The Williamson County Tourism Bureau will receive a $100,000 grant for studying the feasibility of jointly marketing Chicago and Illinois both domestically and internationally.


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