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Virginia Theatre among tourism grant recipients


SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has awarded $1.8 million in grants to increase Prairie State tourism — and the Virginia Theatre in Champaign is among the recipients.

The Office of Tourism announced the 17 recipients of two different grants, saying tourism produced more than $3 billion in tax revenue for the state and local communities last year.

One grant, awarded officially to the Champaign Park District/ Virginia Theatre, is for $50,000. It’s to be used for installation of “modern ‘intelligent’ theatrical lighting.”

Grant applications targeting the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb and Timber Lake Playhouse in Mount Carroll were also approved.

Other recipients include Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois; Chicago Zoological Society; Chicagoland Speedway; and Laurent House Foundation.

The Tourism Attraction Grant program helps develop or enhance tourism attractions to boost visitation and overnight stays in Illinois. There were 13 recipients sharing $1.4 million. Officials say there were four times as many applications for this grant as there was available funding.

The remaining grants — just over $400,000 — went to four applicants for the Tourism Private Sector Grant program. The money helps attract major new events to the state or helps enhance existing ones.

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