Ladd had come to the city earlier in 2016, seeking
financial support to go along with a grant he was applying for with
the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.
The grant and city dollars would be used to add an ADA accessible
entryway and public restrooms to the Mill. The work was a
requirement before the Mill on Route 66 could be opened as a public
At that time, Ladd reported a timeline that would include having the
Mill open to the public by April 2017.
This week, Ladd reported that the timeline was on schedule, and the
Mill will indeed open this year in April.
He reported that the restroom project is “all but complete” with
only the exterior paint left to be done. At the time of the meeting
he said that the water was not yet hooked up, but later in the
evening, he updated that information to local media saying that the
bathrooms now have running water.
Ladd said there are some small tasks that need to be completed in
the historical portion of the building, but again, the work is on
track for that April opening.
Ladd said that the April opening would include a Grand Opening
Celebration that he wants to make very special to commemorate the
event after so many years of working to get to this point. He said
that he was now inviting all the aldermen to be present for that
He closed speaking on that subject saying that he would be meeting
with City Administrator Clay Johnson the following day to review
paperwork and wrap things up so the Route 66 Heritage Foundation,
the organization responsible for the Mill restoration, could request
the final payment from the city for the restroom work.
He added that the building has been inspected by the city and has
passed those inspections.
Moving on, Ladd said that the work on the new Route 66 signage
through the downtown area is mostly complete. He said there were a
few minor things that needed to be done, but they would be done
Moving on, Ladd said that the Illinois Route 66 Byways is now
putting together the new Route 66 visitor guide for the 2017 tourism
season. He said he would be working with Tourism and the city to
assure that local information was included in that booklet.
When Ladd finished, Rick Hoefle asked how the Mill would support
itself now that it is ready to open. Ladd said that the Mill
requires about $4,000 a year to stay operational, with the majority
of that being for insurance.
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He said the Heritage Foundation has a very “robust”
membership and that much of the money will come from that. He said
the Mill would also continue accepting public donations and would
offer some Route 66 and Mill items for sale at the museum once
Hoefle said that if the Mill has funding issues down the road, he is
hopeful that the Foundation will look to the Logan County Tourism
Bureau as an ally in taking care of the new Route 66 attraction.
As is known by most, Ladd is the former director of the Bureau when
it was the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County. After
resigning from the bureau, Ladd did separate himself somewhat from
that organization while it was working under the umbrella of the
Logan County Alliance.
Tuesday evening, Ladd said that he was hopeful that there would be a
good relationship built between the Heritage Foundation and the
Bureau. He commented that he was pleased to see Bill Hoagland hired
as the new Tourism Director.
After the meeting, Ladd offered an additional comment via email
regarding the hiring of Hoagland:
"On behalf of the
Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County, I want to congratulate
Bill Hoagland on his new post as Executive Director of the Logan
County Tourism Bureau. Our Foundation is looking forward to meeting
with the Tourism Bureau to look at ways to promote together Route 66
in Lincoln and Logan County. This includes The Mill, which will open
in April as a museum, with a kickoff Grand Opening event (details
TBA). As always, I want thank the city of Lincoln, the National Park
Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, and all the
organizations, businesses, and individuals who have contributed to
the Mill. I also want to thank all our volunteers and our past and
present board members.
In addition, the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway has been working
with the Mayor & the City Council, Walt Landers & the Street
Department, and IDOT, to add 1926-1930 Route 66 street signs in the
downtown area and travelling past The Mill, and that project is
nearly completed. I want to personally thank everyone involved with
both of these important projects, and am looking forward to the
increase in tourism and economic development from these