Route 66 anniversary can boost local tourism

August 5, 2018

It’s still eight years away. But the time will pass quickly and the distance between part of historic U.S. Route 66 and Kankakee County is relatively short.

That’s why there’s no time like the present to make at least preliminary plans to get the region involved in the 100th anniversary of the fabled “Mother Road.’’ It’s set for 2026 and promises to bring vast attention to a highway that already gets plenty of notice.

Earlier this week, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation creating the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission. The commission will make plans to celebrate the anniversary.

Rauner noted Illinois has “a distinct place of honor” in Route 66, which started in Chicago and continued to California. These days, it largely has yielded to interstate highways such as I-55 in terms of a preferred travel route, but stretches of the original route remain, and these spots draw curiosity seekers from throughout the nation and the world.

Some of these spots are located in Wilmington, Gardner, Dwight and Odell, places in our own backyard. With Kankakee County tourism flourishing like no time before, it seems as if there is a prime chance to draw many of these visitors slightly to the east to enjoy what is present here.

You can get your kicks on Route 66, and the same can be said of Kankakee County. Let’s kickstart a drive to make it happen.

Update hourly