From Across the Mighty Mississippi...
The Post-Dispatch Illinois edition reported on Thursday the closure of the Collinsville Convention and Visitors Bureau, effective June 30th.
Collinsvile, Illinois (about 10 miles east of Downtown St. Louis via I-55/70) is home to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Missouri or Illinois and largest archaeological site in the United States. Cahokia Mounds is the only World Heritage Site in the U.S. maintained by a state agency; most others are national parks.
Cited reasons for the closure of the Collinsville CVB are a 50 percent cut in Illinois state tourism funding, costs of the expansion of Gateway Center, a small convention hall located at Eastport Plaza in Collinsville (off Illinois 157 at the junction of I-255 and I-55/70), and revenue to be lost when a TIF-funded redevelopment on Illinois 157 results in the demolition of three of the eleven hotels/motels located in Collinsville.
CCVB duties will now be handled by the Gateway Center and the Collinsville Chamber of Commerce; two of the three CCVB staff will be transferred to Gateway Center.
I overheard today that the Illinois Republican Party will be holding their State Convention at the Gateway Center on May 14-15. There's only one staff person whose job it is to coordinate all the logistics of this event, especially a rather complicated hotel reservation request system. Essentially, IL GOP delegates (a preponderance of whom are from the Chicago metro area), get to choose what hotel and other room specs they want - reservation forms are due to the party office today; then the party staff reassigns them based on status within the party. Several hundred people have to be coordinated by this one person.
Of course, you notice this is happening before the June 30th closure of the CCVB. One can only imagine how much harder this coordination problem will become then. Those Republicans always make sure to take care of their own - before a leaner, meaner government takes effect. ;-)