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July 14, 2000

Governor Announces $995,000 Tourism Grant For John Deere Collectors Center

MOLINE -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced a nearly one million dollar Tourism Attraction Development grant to the John Deere Foundation in Moline. The funding will help the Foundation purchase and renovate a historic building that will become the site of the John Deere Collectors Center, a replica of a 1950s John Deere dealership complete with vintage equipment.

"John Deere's contributions to agriculture and his company's technological innovations are legendary," Ryan said. "I can think of no better way to honor that tradition than by providing tourism funds to a center which will capture, preserve and build upon the legacy of John Deere and the products his company has created."

The Tourism Attraction Development Grant Program (TAP) is administered through the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' (DCCA), Bureau of Tourism. The grants are awarded to municipalities, counties, not-for-profit groups and for-profit businesses and can be used to improve existing tourist sites, or for the development of new attractions with the potential to attract tourists from outside a 100-mile radius and generate increased overnight stays.

"John Deere has always been a leader in the business community," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough, "and the John Deere Foundation is following that lead in terms of tourism and historic preservation. This Center will act not only as a tourist destination but also as a testament to the contributions of John Deere in helping Illinois become a leader in agri-business."

The Foundation is acquiring the former Moline Heating and Construction Building from RENEW Moline, which had purchased the structure for historic preservation purposes. The Center will be named the "Moline Tractor and Plow Company" and will be a part of the John Deere Commons, an area well known for its renovations of buildings and the site of the John Deere Pavilion, the largest agricultural exhibit in the world.

In addition to hosting vintage John Deere tractors and equipment, The Center will include interpretive and interactive exhibits.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to add this attraction to the Commons and further enhance the John Deere story," said Foundation President Don Margenthaler. "It's projected that 250,000 people annually will have an opportunity to experience this Center. We appreciate the support that Governor Ryan and DCCA have provided for this project."


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