Gov. Pritzker announces grant money for Historic Route 66

In Illinois, Route 66 is 300 miles long and one of the most famous roads in America. (Photo Courtesy of Rhys Martin via National Park Service)


BLOOMINGTON – Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) on Wednesday announced seven grants totaling $3.3 million coming to the Route 66 Grant Program.

According to a news release, $180,400 will come to Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The money will support murals, EV chargers in Normal and Route 66 Centennial Signs.

“Like so many great things, Route 66 begins in Chicago, travels Illinois, and spreads across the country delighting millions and forming an essential part of our nation,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

He continued, “These investments will enhance visitor experiences and build on existing attractions to ensure Illinois and Route 66 remain vibrant elements of American culture and tradition for many years to come.”

In Illinois, Route 66 is 300 miles long and one of the most famous roads in America. Route 66 was designated in 1926 and opened the western part of the country to anyone who could drive.

The full list of recipients can be found below:

Grantee  Award AmountProject Description
Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau $180,400  Support the research, design, and installation of murals in Lexington, Bloomington, and McLean. Support the installation of EV chargers in Normal and the creation of Route 66 Centennial signs. 
Choose Chicago    $142,500 Support the organizing efforts for the Route 66 Classic Car show and by developing tours in Chicago 
Discover Downstate Illinois  $50,763  Support the Celebration of Route 66 Festival, featuring the Midwest Drag Racing Series and various musical performances.   
Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau    $892,000  Support the design, engineering, and installation of electric signs and EV stations along with renovations to the Ariston Cafe and a mural project at the Route 66 Skyview Drive.  
Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau    $600,000  Support the Route 66 statewide marketing and promotions, including projects like the Route 66 Scenic Byway Visitors Guide, festivals, and more. 
Heritage Corridor Destinations  $1,250,000 Enhance Route 66 exhibits and museums, including signage, kiosk, and EV stations.  
Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau  $232,000  Development and installation of structures for the Illinois Fair Grounds Route 66 Experience. Enhance the World’s Largest Route 66 sign as well as the construction and installation of other classic neon signs throughout Springfield. Support the preservation of oral history and audio recordings for future Route 66 attractions and preservation efforts of the Lincoln Information Center.  


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…