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August 29, 2001

Governor Announces Projects for Fort Massac

METROPOLIS -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced a $4.45 million project to reconstruct Ft. Massac, the frontier fort built by the French in 1757.

The 1, 500 acre park is a major Southern Illinois tourist attraction. Due to the overwhelming popularity of historical and cultural sites such as Fort Massac, Illinois is ranked 9th in the nation by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) for the number of historical and cultural travelers it receives.

"When this project is complete, we will be able to share with the public a fort that will reflect its early 1800s appearance, and one that will do justice to the importance of this site and its place in history," the Governor said. "In addition, an enhanced visitor center will provide quality exhibits and facilities for the 1.6 million individuals annually who visit Ft. Massac."

Over the past 240 years, Fort Massac was rebuilt several times by the American military. The state reconstructed the fort in the early 1970s, but it is not historically accurate and currently is in urgent need of substantial repairs.

"Construction for this project has been on hold since the mid 1990s, due to lack of funding." the Governor said. "Enhancing Fort Massac will help Illinois attract even more visitors interested in Illinois' heritage and history."

The demolition is expected to begin following this year's Fort Massac Encampment on Oct. 20 and 21, which re-creates the lifestyles of British, French and colonial American military forces that occupied the historic fort between 1757 and 1814. The renovations to Fort Massac are expected to be completed in time for the Lewis and Clark National Expedition Celebration in November 2003.

The state also is undertaking a $665,000 project, expected to be completed in 2002, with plans to upgrade the boat launching and docking facilities on the Ohio River at Ft. Massac. These funds will help build a new, two-lane concrete boat ramp, expand parking to provide space for up to 35 car-trailer combinations and install security lighting.

"Projects such as these demonstrate Governor Ryan's commitment to the outdoors, tourism and economic development in Southern Illinois," said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Brent Manning. "With his help, more people will be able to enjoy the beauty of the natural resources in this part of the state."


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