Grants Launched for Historic Route 66 Development; Rep. Butler Encourages Local Groups to Apply

This week, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) launched a $4 million grant program for certified convention and visitors bureaus for the development of tourism, education, preservation and promotion of the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026. State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) is encouraging eligible local organizations in the 87th House District and Capitol Region to apply for the new program.

“The 87th District and Capital Region contains so much rich history and Route 66 is one of the brightest gems,” said Butler, who is a member of the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission. “This is a great opportunity for our region to improve this gem and the wonderful benefits the Mother Road brings to our communities along its path.”

The funding opportunity provides the certified convention and visitors’ bureaus along the route with the opportunity to develop projects that will enhance the Route 66 experience in Illinois.

Preference will be given to projects that:

  • Are statewide in nature and benefit the entire Illinois portion of Route 66 from Chicago to Chain of Rocks Bridge;
  • Develop new or enhance existing attractions that elevate the Route 66 experience in Illinois;
  • Support improved wayfinding for visitors traveling Route 66;
  • Strengthen future tourism trends that include electric vehicles and other electrified transportation.

“I look forward to seeing great projects come from this opportunity, and how they enhance the visitor experience for everyone that comes to explore Route 66 and the Land of Lincoln as we prepare to celebrate Route 66’s 100th anniversary,” said Butler.

Through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), Certified Conventions and Visitors Bureaus can submit an application until March 7, 2022. To view the NOFO, please visit