Even though it doesn’t have all the money needed for the project, the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois, is taking bids on building a tourism center that will highlight Route 66, reported the Bloomington Pantagraph.
The project would turn the south lawn of the museum square into a plaza pointing visitors to the ground floor of the Museum, where visitors would be greeted by a trained staff member, a gift shop, videos, kids play area and an interactive exhibit, said Museum Executive Director Greg Koos. The Tilbury Flash plane that now occupies that space would be moved.
Koos said the museum applied for a $249,000 tourism grant through the Illinois Office of Tourism, and the rest of the project will be funded primarily through the Bloomington-Normal Area Visitors and Convention Bureau. The state’s tourism office said Tuesday the museum’s grant application was recommended for funding but the grant has not yet been “executed.” […]
Koos said the museum would have a better idea of when it could open the visitor center after bids come in, but he’s hoping the project could be complete within a 90-day time frame. Bids are due June 17.
The museum’s director cited the nearby towns of Atlanta and Pontiac that have capitalized on Route 66 tourism, and said the Bloomington-Normal area had failed to do so.
The museum is on 200 N. Main St., which is about a block west of northbound U.S. 51 (aka eastbound Route 66) and two blocks east of southbound 51 (westbound 66).
(Image of the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois, by Paul Sableman via Flickr)