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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 1999

Governor Announces $267,000 In Tourism Matching Grants

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced nearly $267,000 in Tourism Private Sector Grants to assist two Illinois organizations manage the cost of attracting and hosting major events.

The grants will support the national women's ballooning championships in Rantoul this weekend and development of a major soccer event in Chicago during 2001.

"Bringing major tourism events to Illinois requires cooperation between the public and private sectors," Ryan said. "By partnering with local groups, the state is able to attract events that enhance the quality of life for our citizens and provide new economic opportunities."

The Tourism Private Sector Grant program, administered by the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA), provides matching funds to private organizations that are working to attract or host major national and international conventions, trade shows and sporting events. Such events have a positive impact on Illinois' travel industry.

"These grants are a wise investment in our economy. By pooling state resources with private funds, we're able to stretch our tourism promotion dollars even further," DCCA Director Pam McDonough said. "The return on this investment is measured in increased jobs, sales receipts and tax revenues."

The Tourism Private Sector Grant Program was established in 1994 to provide funding for events that have the potential for generating economic growth. The projects listed below represent the first installment of the FY '00 grant program.

Illinois State Soccer Association, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, will receive $179,000 for costs associated with hosting 2001: A Soccer Odyssey. Grant funds will be utilized to plan, promote and host a mega-event scheduled for July 27 - August 6, 2001 on the campuses of Chicago Christian High School, Moraine Valley Community College and Trinity Christian College, and will include three distinct components under the Odyssey umbrella -- the U. S. Soccer Festival; the Midwest Regional Tournament of State Champions, and the local qualification phase of the Tournament of the Mexican-American Communities of the U.S.A.

Champaign County Balloon National Championships, Rantoul, Illinois, will receive $87,586 for costs associated with hosting the 1st Women's U. S. National Championship, August 6 - 15, 1999. The 1st Women's Championship will promote women in sports and provide an opportunity to demonstrate the abilities of women to equally compete with men in the same sport. Competitive ballooning is a sport of precision, detail, patience, and accuracy; it is not a sport of brute strength or physical endurance. Women from Texas, California, Florida, New Mexico, Missouri and Illinois are registered for this event.



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