Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau Working on Route 66 Grants

By Benjamin Cox on March 9, 2022 at 1:10pm

The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau of Southwest Illinois is seeking a grant to attract more visitors to Historic Route 66 and revitalize and create landmarks along the legendary highway.

Riverbender reports that the tourism bureau has applied for a grant under the Route 66 Grant Program administered by DCEO and the Illinois Office of Tourism. If approved, the grant would fund the projects throughout communities along the Last 100 Miles of the historic highway in Illinois.

The grant funds are available to certified Destination Marketing Organizations in Illinois who represent and promote the Mother Road.

The projects include development of a mural trail that would have stops in Virden and Girard. The postcard-style, matching murals in 11 locations would highlight Route 66 facts.

Another project would be revitalization of the historic Macoupin County “Cannonball Jail”. Grant funds would be used to complete structural updates and parking lot repairs needed to reopen the historic jail to Route 66 visitors. The jail, located across from the famed “Million Dollar Courthouse”, was constructed after the American Civil War with surplus cannonballs placed between stones to make prisoner escape impossible.

The proposed projects are receiving support from local governments to state lawmakers all along the historic highway.