Updates on Save the Tropics Sign project

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Updates on Save the Tropics Sign project
Jan 152016
 

tropics-sign








A committee of local leaders has been assembled with the goal of restoring the iconic Tropics restaurant sign.

In May 2014, the symbol of Lincoln’s place in Route 66 history was dismantled for the first time since it was installed in the early-1960’s.
The roughly 4,200-pound sign was cut, lifted by an industrial crane and taken away on a trailer for storage on city property.

In March 2015, the treasurer of the Route 66 Association, Martin Blitstein, accompanied by Andrea Dykman, with The Mill, approached Lincoln City Council on the whereabouts of the sign, which was being stored outdoors at the landfill, raising many concerns from locals.
That following July, the Tourism Bureau took ownership of the sign and partnered with the City of Lincoln and the Johnson family, former owners of the Tropics restaurant, to restore it. Once restoration is complete, it will once again be city property.

Today, a committee of 10 is working to raise funds for the three-year project. Those members include: Executive Director of the Logan County Economic Development Partnership, Bill Thomas, The tropics family- Bob and Tammy Goodrich, Eric Johnson, and Kim Johnson, the President of the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County, Bob Wilmert, Event Coordinator for the Logan County Alliance, Cara Barr, Lincoln Alderman Michelle Bauer, Tourism Director Maggie McMurtrey, LCA intern Konner Browne and Rene Martin, with the Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation.
“The committee is working to get things off the ground. Our goal is for each member to network,” said McMurtrey. “Eventually we want to grow into a bigger group of people who really care. So, the role of the small committee, for now, is to brainstorm fundraising ideas and collecting information”

After reviewing several bids, the group is aiming to raise $50,000 for the project. Approximately $30,000 of that will go towards the restoration and the costly transportation of the sign, while the remaining money will be used for unforeseen costs and for the city to use for maintenance.
Currently, the group is utilizing Facebook for public awareness and collecting start-up costs through a Gofundme.com account.
“In terms of progress, the committee worked to establish an online process folks can use to make donations and the committee is working to plan fundraising events,” said Thomas.
The committee is also applying for several grant applications seeking funding support from the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Program, the Danner Trust, and The Woods Foundation. The amount of grants applied for will be just shy of $10,000.

Currently, approximately $850 has been donated from the Lincoln and Logan County Chamber of Commerce, which is held in a bank account designated for the project.
While the group is planning a large fundraising event this fall, it is currently hosting a silent auction for four Chicago Bulls versus Cleveland Cavalier tickets for April 9.
“It’s only been up on our Facebook page for two days and it is currently at $450,” said McMurtrey. “So, that’s kind of exciting. It should put us at $1,000 raised.”

As far as a destination for the sign, no decisions have been made just yet. It is still being stored on city property. However, it is now lifted off the ground and has been covered.
“Restoring the Tropics sign, locating it in an appropriate spot and ensuring there is an onsite means of telling the Tropics story to people who stop to see the sign are, in my opinion, the keys to creating a new attraction that will motivate folks to stop and visit Lincoln and Logan County,” said Thomas.
“More tourism money will flow into Lincoln and Logan County if we have more attractions available. The more attractions we have available, the more time visitors will spend in our area. The more time visitors spend in our area, the more likely they are to purchase gas, eat in a restaurant, spend the night, and/or purchase goods at our stores.”

According to McMurtrey, at this point the committee is in the phase of working to raise awareness and start-up funds. “Any donations would be greatly appreciated.”
To donate to the cause, checks can be made out to Save The Tropics Sign and sent to the LCA office at 1555 Fifth Street, Lincoln, Ill. 62656.
For more information visit: Gofundme.com/SaveTheTropicsSign or the Facebook page Save the Tropics Sign.

By Cassy Good – The Courier

Ladd resigns from Lincoln Tourism Bureau

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Ladd resigns from Lincoln Tourism Bureau
Apr 282013
 






LINCOLN – Geoff Ladd, the executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday.

“After nearly eight years with the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, I have decided to pursue exciting new employment opportunities. I am looking forward to helping the bureau during this transition phase for their organization,” wrote Ladd in an email.

“Tourism remains a vital part of the local economy, and I am pleased that over the last several years we have seen a growth in the hotel tax revenue by over 30%, which means more and more people are coming to visit for the events, sports tournaments and daily attractions we have to offer. I want to thank all my board members past and present, my staff, my industry colleagues, and all our great volunteers. I also want to issue special thanks to Larry Van Bibber, who through his philanthropic efforts brought the World’s Largest Covered Wagon to Lincoln,” continued Ladd.

“Work still continues on The Mill on 66 restoration project, which is owned by the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County, and I will continue to be a part of that organization. This is an important project, and when fully restored and opened as a museum the attraction will be any even bigger tourism draw to Lincoln and Logan County,” said Ladd.

Tourism board member Ron Keller said Ladd announced his departure which shocked the group.

“It was a surprise and a shock,” said Keller.

“When Geoff took over the bureau was in a huge deficit and the tourism bureau didn’t have the respect by other organizations in the county. Since then he turned the deficit into a surplus by connecting with other tourism agencies and enhanced the Route 66 heritage that Lincoln has,” said Keller.

Keller said with the recent news of the City of Lincoln wanting to take control over the bureau it played a role in his departure.

“I think it had an affect on Geoff and I didn’t expect this to happen,” said Keller.

On an upbeat note Keller said he would still support Ladd’s future endeavors.

“I applaud his effort and wish him only the best,” said Keller.

During Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting alderman Tom O’Donoghue and Melody Anderson said they had completed the expectations of the tourism bureau in order for the City to continue funding the tourism programs. More discussion on the tourism topic will take place at the May 14 meeting.

When called for details Ladd was silent about his future.

“I sent that out to the media and that is pretty much all I have to say at this point,” said Ladd.

He did stress that he will be living and working in the Lincoln area.

Route 66 Hub/Kiosk in Downtown Joliet to Assist Pilgrims on the ‘Mother Road’

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Route 66 Hub/Kiosk in Downtown Joliet to Assist Pilgrims on the ‘Mother Road’
Oct 022012
 






Joliet has really stepped up its game in realizing Route 66 is an important part of it’s town…

An illuminated, interactive “hub” directing visitors to Route 66 tourism sites in downtown Joliet will be erected sometime this fall, Assistant City Manager Ben Benson said.

The kiosk is already in hand and it’s likely location will be somewhere along Ottawa Street, near the Joliet Area Historical Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center, Benson said.

“Many consider Joliet the gateway to Route 66 through Illinois,” he said. “The need we have is to help direct people to visit local attractions.”

The three-part display is one of about 20 that will be installed in towns that dot the “Mother Road” across Illinois, now designated and Illinois Scenic Byway. The idea is for drivers following the historic trail to stop in towns along the way to learn about the road’s history and what Route 66-related sites each municipality has to offer.

Hundreds of people take the Route 66 journey every year, starting at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago and following the highway sections that remain all the way to Los Angeles. Route 66 was one of the first cross-country interstates in the U.S. Highway system, officially opening on Nov. 11, 1926, and formally removed on June 27, 1985.

Berwyn is the first town to put up their commemorative kiosk, and more will be rolled out over the next year in towns such as Wilmington, Lincoln, Pontiac and Carlinville.

Joliet’s display is being funded with a grant from Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the city will use on-staff workers to do the installation and a local electrical company to hook up the wiring, Benson said.

There has been some debate about where Joliet’s sign should go given that southbound Route 66 follows what is now Route 53/Chicago Street through the city. At one point it was to go in at Bicentennial Park because the Heritage Corridor tourism office located there. Ultimately, however, it was decided the best location was near the Route 66 Visitors Center, where most making the pilgimage are likely to stop, Benson said.

Karen Sorensen – Joliet Patch

Busy year for the Route 66 – Mother Road

 Daily, Help Route 66, Illinois  Comments Off on Busy year for the Route 66 – Mother Road
Jan 252011
 



LINCOLN — 2011 looks to be another exciting year for Route 66 in Logan County. The Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County is busy, along with the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, in promoting Route 66 in grand style statewide.

The foundation hustled to finish up a National Park Service grant in 2010 that helped fund some major repairs at The Mill. Foundation repairs, windows and electrical service, along with a newly refurbished floor, was just some of the work done to help move The Mill one step closer to opening as a museum in 2011.

Local help, teamed up with many members of the Route 66 Association of Illinois, worked hard to meet the grant deadlines. The group continues to deal with the challenge of funding issues, but makes up for it with diligence and hard work aimed at seeing the Route 66 icon opened up as a museum that will house Route 66 history in Logan County. This extensive amount of work could not have occurred without also a generous grant from The Danner Trust and an extremely generous donation from local philanthropist Larry Van Bibber.

To continue its mission of restoring The Mill, the foundation once again will hold the Annual Route 66 Garage Sale. Without project manager Bruce Huskins, who stepped down after 2010’s event, the future of the sale was unknown. With careful consideration, Geoff Ladd, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, stepped up to manage the event that now is booked for May 13 and 14 with some changes in store. All proceeds from this countywide event will go toward The Mill restoration project.

Additionally, the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau is pleased to announce the return of the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame banquet on June 11, to be hosted at Lincoln College in the new Lincoln Center. This several-hundred member statewide organization will be celebrating Route 66 with a special tribute to the late famed Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire, as well as enjoying Lincoln and Logan County, a great location that includes a vast amount of Route 66 history along a 37-mile stretch of the Mother Road.

The Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County was formed with the intention of bringing together community members who are passionate about Route 66 and its history in Logan County. It is a group that always is accepting new members and volunteers.

For details on these events or for information on how to get involved, call 217-732-8687.

Copyright 2011 Lincoln Courier. Some rights reserved

Route 66 Association of Ill. Hall of Fame banquet in Lincoln June 11

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Route 66 Association of Ill. Hall of Fame banquet in Lincoln June 11
Jan 212011
 

Story from the Lincoln Daily News – wish I could attend this one!

This looks to be another exciting year for Logan County and Route 66. The Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County is busy, along with the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, in promoting Route 66 in grand style statewide.

The tourism bureau announces that the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame banquet will return to Lincoln on June 11. The event will be hosted at Lincoln College in their new Lincoln Center. This several-hundred-member statewide organization will celebrate Route 66 with a special tribute to the late famed Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire, as well as enjoying Lincoln and Logan County, which includes a vast amount of Route 66 history along a 37-mile stretch of the Mother Road.

As previously announced, the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County has decided to once again host the annual Route 66 Garage Sale. Without project manager Bruce Huskins, who had stepped down after the 2010 event, the future of the sale was unknown. But after careful consideration Geoff Ladd stepped up to manage the project that is now booked for May 13 and 14 with some changes in store. All proceeds from this countywide event go toward the restoration of The Mill.

The Route 66 Heritage Foundation hustled to finish up a National Park Service grant in 2010 that helped fund some major repairs at The Mill. Windows, electrical service and foundation repairs, along with a newly refurbished floor, were just some of the work done to help move The Mill one step closer to opening as a museum this year. Local help, teamed up with many members of the Route 66 Association of Illinois, were hard at work to meet the grant deadlines. The group continues to deal with the challenge of funding issues but makes up for it with diligence and hard work aimed at seeing the Route 66 icon opened up as a museum that will house Route 66 history in Logan County.

This extensive amount of work could not have occurred without also a generous grant from The Danner Trust and an extremely generous donation from local philanthropist Larry Van Bibber.

The Mill and the Gardner Streetcar preservation work article

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on The Mill and the Gardner Streetcar preservation work article
Jan 142011
 

Back in Aug/Sept 2010 – we went to work on the beginning of the restoration of both The Mill in Lincoln, IL and the Riviera (Gardner) Streetcar after it was moved from the back of the Riviera – but before it found its new home next to the jailcell in Gardner.




Click picture to see full article. (I am the one with the arrow next to him…)
As you can see from the pictues, we work hard, we play hard, we eat A LOT!!

The Route 66 Association of Illinois’ motto is: ‘We work for food’ and I have YET had a bad meal while volunteering!!

A great group of folks who will tell tales, stories and give useful information about the route as you work next to them – side by side.

I do mean it when I say these folks put their heart and soul preserving Route 66.

I encourage all state associations to get the word out about volunteering efforts and I encourage all who love the route as I do – VOLUNTEER! It is an experience you will have with you for a lifetime!

Nothing like stopping at a building you helped restore and say ‘yep – I did that!’

Yes – you are allowed to pat yourself on the back…