Bloomington Unveils Route 66 Experience Hub | WGLT

Bloomington Unveils Route 66 Experience Hub

Mar 4, 2019

Route 66 enthusiasts can find a new way to connect with the historic highway.

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner joined other city officials in braving the freezing cold on Monday afternoon to unveil a new Route 66 experience hub.

The interactive kiosk at Main and Jefferson streets downtown details tourist attractions along the Mother Road and tells some of its history.

Renner said the display will further help the city capitalize on Route 66 travelers, just as the nearby Route 66 Visitors Center has done.

“It certainly is an important shot in the arm economically and for our downtown,” Renner said. “Obviously, it’s an important icon symbol of economic development for downtown, a long time coming.”

Geoff Ladd (left) and Bill Kelly of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway pose next to the new Route 66 Experience Hub in downtown Bloomington.
Credit Eric Stock / WGLT

Bill Kelly, executive director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, said the display taps into tourists' desire for nostalgia.

“It’s a chance to harken back to, let’s say perhaps simpler times, less data, less immediate kind of times,” Kelly explained. “You can basically put down the top, roll down the window and take your time.”

The Bloomington-Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau bought the display for about $7,800. Bloomington is covering installation and utility costs.

It's the 14th interactive display that travelers will find along the historic highway in Illinois. There's also one at the former Sprague service station which hosts Normal’s Route 66 Visitors Center.

Kelly added the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway is also looking to promote the 2,100-mile highway stretching from Chicago to California through wayside exhibits and interpretive statues that are stationed at various locations along the highway.

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