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Heritage Corridor CVB Members Meet with State Officials at First I&M Canal Day

Justin Hardee, Jackie Traynere, Mary Beth DeGrush & Sandy Burns

Justin Hardee, Jackie Traynere, Mary Beth DeGrush & Sandy Burns

For Immediate Release

March 9, 2012

Robert L. Navarro, PhD.

Romeoville, IL – Representatives from the Heritage Corridor Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) were among the nearly 100 people from 26 organizations that took part in the first-ever "Illinois and Michigan Canal Day" in Springfield. The all-day event was held on Tuesday, February 21.

Jan Kostner, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, and State Representative Frank Mautino addressed the group during the formal program in the rotunda of the state capitol.

Organizations from throughout the National Heritage Corridor set up display tables to promote awareness of its rich diversity of educational and recreational activities. Attendees also visited the Old State Capitol and a special Civil War living history presentation entitled “Meet a Boy in Blue.”

Bureau staff members Mary Beth DeGrush, Justin Hardee and Sandy Burns, along with Board Members Jackie Traynere and Julie Johnson, took advantage of this opportunity to meet with elected officials and members of state agencies.

They spoke with Jan Kostner and State Representatives Mautino (76th District), Tom Cross (84th District) and Pam Roth (75th District) regarding the importance of tourism as an economic developer, as well as I&M Canal issues and maintenance.

They also discussed the potential reopening of the portion of the canal from Ottawa to Utica which has been closed for nearly two years due to alleged stray bullets coming from a nearby shooting range. No new decision has been made at this time.

According to Mary Beth DeGrush, Heritage Corridor CVB Vice President, "It was such an inspiration to see all the different organizations that have an interest in the I&M Canal come together for a common purpose…to save, restore, and promote."

The Canal Day meetings led to a new ten-year plan for the I&M Canal Heritage Corridor, and there are plans to make this an annual event. To learn more about tourism-related activities along the I&M Canal Heritage Corridor, visit or call 800.926.2262.

Check out the Photo Gallery for this event at: /romeoville/community/galleries/2012/03/first-im-canal-day/


The mission of the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau is to create economic impact along the Illinois and Michigan (I&M) Canal through tourism marketing and development. The Bureau was incorporated in 1984 and is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of leaders in the tourism industry from the four areas serviced by the Bureau.

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