Quinn signs off on Marion visitor center proposal

2009-08-11T00:00:00Z Quinn signs off on Marion visitor center proposalKurt Erickson, The Southern Springfield Bureau The Southern

SPRINGFIELD - A new law could help Marion build a visitors center along a busy stretch of Interstate 57.

The measure, signed into law Tuesday, by Gov. Pat Quinn, would transfer state-owned land on West Main Street to the city, which would then offer it to the Chamber of Commerce for a nominal fee.

The chamber hopes to build a facility that would allow motorists to stop, stretch their legs and learn about the region.

The facility would be in addition to existing state-operated rest areas located near the state's borders, as well as those near Benton and Rend Lake.

Supporters foresee a building that includes racks of pamphlets, televisions with weather forecasts and separate rooms that could promote activities in the region, such as wineries and nearby bike trails.

The property is near VA Medical Center and a state office building.

The estimated cost of the facility would be $600,000, but chamber officials hope that amount could be reduced if organizers can get assistance from labor unions or local community colleges.

The legislation is House Bill 569.

kurt.erickson@lee.net / 217-789-0865

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