He is very excited about his appointment as project president after
having served only a short while on the board of directors for this
group. He brings professional training and strategic planning skills
to the table, as well as his love of Route 66, dating back to a 1964
family trip on Route 66 to California.
He hopes that one of the
good things he'll bring to the project is a real interest in all of
Route 66 throughout the state. "I want to help all boats rise with
the tide," he said, referring to all the communities that have
varying levels of interest at the current time in regard to their
Route 66 history.
Thomas has had great success in Atlanta with identifying and
leveraging the community's Route 66 assets, and that experience he
hopes to use in other towns. Atlanta is very well-known for its
Route 66 attractions, including the Bunyan hot dog statue, the
smiley face water tower, the historic Atlanta Public Library, the
J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator, the Route 66 murals and recently the
Palms Grill Cafe restoration project. For more information on
Atlanta sites, visit
The Palms Grill Cafe is in the process of being restored and
converted into a museum. Thomas indicated the project is in the
initial stages of "phase two" fundraising. So far, $20,000 has been
raised, and he hopes to have the funds to complete the interior
construction of the building this fall.
[to top of second column]
Patty Ambrose, executive director of the Illinois Route 66
Heritage Project, has worked closely with Thomas since he joined the
board. "I'm really excited to have Bill as president," Ambrose said.
"I use Atlanta as a poster town as to what small communities can do
to leverage our Route 66 heritage." She also added that what Thomas
has done in Atlanta is something that she hopes he can bring to the
project on a statewide level.
Thomas is one of two board members from Logan County who serve on
the board of directors for the Illinois Route 66 Heritage Project.
Geoff Ladd of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County
also serves on the board.
The Illinois Route 66 Heritage Project is a not-for-profit
corporation whose mission is to preserve and promote Route 66 in
For more information, contact the Illinois Route 66 Heritage
Project at 217-525-7980 or the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of
Logan County at 217-732-8687.
[Text from news release received from
Abraham Lincoln Tourism
Bureau of Logan County]