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Illinois Office of Tourism $1.9M for Tourism grant recipients

2/3/2020, 11:43 p.m.

CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Office of Tourism, is pleased to announce $1.9 million in grant funding for two tourism grant programs designed to increase tourism across the state. Illinois welcomed a record 117 million visitors from around the world in 2018, resulting in $42 billion in visitor spending and generating $3.3 billion in tax revenue for the state and local communities. The DCEO Office of Tourism's grant programs are funded entirely by the state's hotel motel tax revenue.

"There's a reason that Illinois is breaking records for tourism; it's because communities throughout our state have so much to offer," said Governor JB Pritzker. "I'll continue to be a proud advocate for everything that attracts people to Illinois and these tourism grants – entirely funded by visitors staying in our hotels and motels – play a significant role in supporting the tourism industry and its nearly 350,000 jobs."

"Developing new events and attractions is necessary to inspire new audiences to visit Illinois. These grants will result in increased visitor spending in local communities across our state, generating revenue and creating jobs for Illinois residents," said Erin Guthrie, Acting Director of DCEO.

The Tourism Attraction Grant Program will help develop new or enhance existing tourism attractions to grow visitation and overnight stays in Illinois. DCEO provided grant funding to 16 organizations in the amount of $1 million. There was significant demand for this grant program, receiving more than four times the number of requests than available funding.

The Tourism Private Sector Grant Program will help attract major new events to the state or significantly enhance existing events to increase visitation. DCEO provided grant funding to seven applicants in the amount of $869,000.

Below is a list of grant recipients from the two grant programs.

Tourism Attraction Grant Program Recipients

College of DuPage Foundation: $100,000

The Cleve Carney Museum of Art in Glen Ellyn will enhance its venue as a cultural and tourism destination. Enhancements include upgraded security system, lighting, displays, outdoor dining tables, and gallery fabrication features.

Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, Inc.: $45,607.50

Supporting "Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg" Special Exhibition - the Midwest Premiere of this vibrant, comprehensive exploration of Justice Ginsburg's life using a dynamic array of gallery interactives, listening stations, archival photographs and documents, historical artifacts, and contemporary art. Based on the book and Tumblr page of the same name, Notorious RBG is the first ever museum exhibition focused solely on the judicial icon.

Chicago Zoological Society (Brookfield): $125,000

This grant will support a free seasonal dinosaur exhibit scheduled from May - September 2020 featuring 44 giant animatronic dinosaurs, including the Argentinosaurus, the largest dinosaur ever discovered. The Argentinosaurus model will be created especially for this exhibit and will be shown for the first time anywhere.

Chicago Architecture Foundation: $74,350

The Chicago Architecture Center's will enhance its lobby to attract and drive more tourism in Chicago. The project will transform the Chicago Architecture Center lobby to reflect an essential piece of its mission: to be a guide to the city of Chicago. Redesigned signage and wayfinding will be included to more clearly direct visitors to the exhibits inside the Center – and to the many unique cultural experiences and architectural treasures outside the center and out in neighborhoods throughout the city.