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Springfield Park District Selected to Receive $370,000 Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant



Date: April 12, 2023

Contact: Derek Harms

Phone: (217) 544-1751 ext. 1000


Springfield Park District receives grant as part of $22.5 million statewide investment to support local festivals and attractions, drive tourism across Illinois

[Springfield, IL] - Springfield Park District announced that it has been selected to receive a $370,000 grant from the Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant Program from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) as part of a $22.5 million investment for nearly 90 local tourism festivals and attractions across Illinois.

“I am truly grateful to Governor Pritzker and the State of Illinois for their continued support of our work in the Springfield community. These grant funds will allow us to significantly improve the beauty and efficiency of our botanical garden, a special place that will continue to delight residents and visitors to our community for years to come.” – Leslie Sgro, Park Board President.

The Washington Park Botanical Garden Conservatory Dome Replacement project is a $750,000 project. $370,000 of these funds were awarded from the Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant with the remaining $380,000 allotted from a generous donation from the William Ed Quarry Trust.

The Conservatory Dome, constructed in 1971, currently hosts 150 species of native and exotic plants. Since its existence, it has become an important horticultural tourism attraction within Springfield and surrounding communities. It hosts roughly 60,000 patrons annually including various celebrations such as weddings, receptions, bridal and baby showers, anniversaries, proposals, and birthday parties.

The Springfield Park District has performed preventative maintenance over the years, allowing the dome to reach an expected operational life cycle. However, the time has come to replace the major systems of the Conservatory Dome to ensure a viable future for a critical tourism attraction within our community.

The Conservatory Dome Replacement project will include;
• Demolition of the current acrylic Conservatory Dome and construction of a new one that is the same size and shape within the       same location
• Replacement of entryway windows
• Replacement of all heating and cooling systems

The $22.5 million in Illinois Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant provides funding to localities, organizations, and businesses for a broad range of tourism-related improvements, events, and attractions. This builds upon $10 million in funding through the first round of the grant program in 2022 that was provided to 40 localities across the state. Combined with Illinois’ largest-ever tourism campaign, “Middle of Everything,” Illinois is prioritizing investing in its thriving tourism industry while driving millions of visitors to choose Illinois for their next trip.

Through the $22.5 million investment, $5 million was reserved for festivals, which serve as economic drivers while bringing communities together, and $17.5 million is supporting a broad range of tourism-related projects such as attractions, museums, live
performance venues, and more. The Springfield Park District’s application was selected for an award through a competitive process, which required demonstrating how the award would help businesses in the surrounding area, as well as the project’s ability to attract visitors for overnight stays.

For more information on this topic and any other Park District news related items, please visit our website at www.springfieldparks.org