Route 66 Flop!

By:  Diane Benjamin

Bloomington budgeted $2,683,206.28 this year for Economic Development.

Today I finally had a chance to glance at the latest copy of Illinois County Living Magazine.  I only get it because I’m a Corn Belt Energy customer.

The cover is “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”.  Here’s a link to the story:

I will wait while you read it.

Waiting . . . . . .

Okay, I know you aren’t reading it.  You should it’s a great article about the Red Carpet Corridor Festival and the 13 communities that participate.  It starts in Joliet and ends in Towanda!

No Bloomington.  One mention of the first Steak’n Shake being in Normal, but nothing about the property Normal taxpayers just bought in NE Normal.

So taxpayers are forced to fund the Convention and Visitors Bureau, BN Advantage, Downtown Bloomington Association, and Economic Development Council, plus a full-time employee, but nobody thought to get included this year?

The management of the History Museum didn’t bother to get included either?  (They are getting $70,000 from taxpayers)

Maybe they didn’t qualify as being a good enough to add.

Remember when Tari and crew were touting how many visitors would be streaming into Bloomington from all over the world because of the Visitors Center?  Numbers ranged from 40,000-60,000 people a year.  The article has some interesting numbers about Pontiac.  Since the Route 66 Association of Illinois if located in Pontiac, that’s where the best attractions are:

Attendance at their museum in 2009:  11,220 of which more than 4,000 were from abroad

In 2015 attendance was more than 25,000 and about 7,000 were international visitors

Good numbers for a year, but the article talked about the Festival – where a lot of this traffic comes from.

Since Bloomington wasn’t included in the festival, all those people didn’t come here.  The event was June 11-12.

What do you get for $2,683,206.28?


10 thoughts on “Route 66 Flop!

  1. Concerning the McLean County Museum, I figured long ago the purpose of that place was to give Krissy Koos worthless brother a government funded job to keep him out of Kris’ pocket. Hell, perish the thought that the lazy neer de well would get a real job.

    1. Just for you Tommy, one of many examples: Alderman Fazzini – June 27, 2014:
      Over 50,000 people traveled Route 66 every year, many from foreign countries. They stop in Pontiac and Atlanta. The City needs to attract this group.

      Well Tommy, a gift shop isn’t working!

  2. ONE reason that Pontiac gets so many INTERNATIONAL visitors is the murals that the “Walldogs” painted several years back. They had a MAJOR “Get-together” of sign painters from around the world come to Pontiac and paint murals on the walls of the buildings, some by well known, awarded graphic artists, which get mentioned in TRADE JOURNALS. Maybe B/N illuminati ought to subscribe to them rather then fly to D.C and Deutschland!

  3. Quotes from the article:
    “Route 66 is one of a handful of things – George Washington, cowboys and Coca-Cola®, that symbolize America to the world.”

    There are 3 of a total of 12 Route 66 associations are in Europe. Chicago’s Al Capone also captivates Europeans.

    “Originally there were to have been three corridors; red for the north (Joliet to Towanda), blue for the south (Chatham, just south of Springfield, to Collinsville) and white for central Illinois. The central corridor has yet to establish itself as such, but central Illinois, specifically Springfield, is home to two institutions that are tied to the Mother Road (a title bestowed upon Route 66 by none other than John Steinbeck in his novel The Grapes of Wrath.) – the International Mother Road Festival, and Springfield eatery, the Cozy Dog Drive-in.”

    There is a potential and possibility that some of the travelers to Pontiac would travel to BN but the Central (White) Corridor has yet to develop a coordinating festival. if they ever will. There is, however, local support by building the Constitution Trail from Towanda to the southern border of McLean County. I wonder if bikes were a popular mode of transportation on Route 66 throughout its history?

    “Good food, music and motoring is the recipe for the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival that takes place every September (September 23-25 this year) in downtown Springfield.”

    Route 66 is about the history and romance of cross country travel by car. Attaching Abraham Lincoln with Route 66 is a stretch since the road wasn’t commissioned until the 1920’s.

    So, there you have it. Bloomington, located about an hour from both Pontiac and Springfield, could take advantage of the Red Corridor’s Festival in the Spring and the White Corridor’s Festival in the Fall. Wonder if EDC and BDA have started working on that?

  4. As a “reporter,” you know reporters make decisions about what to include and not include in their stories all of the time. Think about all of the truth you leave out. The town just bought the Sprague Super Station. Give it time.

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