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February 14, 2001

Governor Ryan Announces Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission Members

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the names of those people who will serve on the Bicentennial Commission which will prepare Illinois to celebrate Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's exploration of the American frontier in 2003-2004.

The focal point of Illinois' observance will be the $7 million Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center now under construction near Hartford, which will be Site Number One on the national Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail.

"The commission members are charged with coordinating Illinois' observance of the anniversary and focusing the nation's attention on Site Number One as the 200th anniversary draws near," said Governor Ryan. "This anniversary gives us a tremendous opportunity to promote Illinois' role in one of the most important journeys of exploration in American history."

The 16-member commission will research, make recommendations for and plan events that will commemorate the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It will also coordinate with the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Congressional Caucus to ensure Illinois identification as the official start of Lewis and Clark's Expedition and the prioritization of federal commemorative events in Illinois. The Commission will be chaired by Tom Long, Chairman of the First Community Bank of Godfrey.

The Interpretive Center is a 14,000-square-foot building with a brick, stone and wood exterior. The focal point will be a full-size, 50-foot-tall keelboat replica inside the building. A movie depicting the Lewis and Clark journey that will be shown in the facility's theatre is also part of the project.

On December 12, 1803, the first members of the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived at what would become their winter camp in Illinois near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, very close to where the Interpretive Center is being built. The expedition departed from that camp in May 1804 after spending the winter gathering supplies and volunteers.

"We intend to focus international attention on this spot in 2003 - 2004 as the nation celebrates the 200th anniversary of Lewis and Clark's Journey of Discovery," said Governor Ryan. "This new museum and the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to be built in Springfield, will forever serve as links to Illinois' rich heritage for the thousands of tourists and schoolchildren who will visit these sites."

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is being funded by a $4 million federal appropriation secured by Congressman Jerry Costello, and a $2.94 million appropriation from the Illinois General Assembly. The parking lot is being designed and constructed for $350,000 through the Illinois Department of Transportation's Park Road Program. The construction is being overseen by the Illinois Capital Development Board, and the facility will be staffed and operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Construction is expected to be complete by late 2002.

A list of Commission members is attached.


Commission Chairman:
Tom Long
First Community Bank of Godfrey

Commission Members:
Douglas Arnold
Greater Alton/Twin Rivers Convention & Visitors Bureau

Cindy Benefield
Executive Director
Southernmost Illinois Convention and Tourism Bureau

Rosemarie Brown
Executive Director
Tri-Cities Area Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Dale Chapman
Lewis and Clark Community College

Robert Fietsam, Jr.
St .Clair Historical Society
Lewis & Clark Historian

Mayor Sandra L. Leidner
City of Vandalia, Illinois

Susan Lucco
Lewis and Clark Library System

S. Burkett "Doc" Milner,
Southern Illinois Tourism Development Office

Debra Moore
Executive Director
Institute for Urban Research
Southern Illinois University--Edwardsville

Colonel Mike Morrow
US Army Corps of Engineers

John Power
Alton Telegraph

Jim Shrader
Publisher Alton Telegraph

Anne Walker
Community Program Specialist
Bi-State Development agency

Brian Widaman
Lewis and Clark Society of America, Inc.

Harry Windlan

Ex-Offico Members
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

Congressman Jerry Costello
Congressman John Shimkus

Senator Evelyn Bowles
Senator David Luechtefeld

Representative Steve Davis
Representative Tom Holbrook
Representative Ron Stephens

Pam McDonough, Director
Department of Commerce and Community Affairs

Susan Mogerman, Director
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Cathy Ritter, Deputy Director
Bureau of Tourism
Department of Commerce and Community Affairs


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