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Small town cooperatives

Sam DePino

We along Federal Hiway 24 in Illinois are beginning a movement to declare the hiway a historical route. We are mostly farm economies(and we know what's happening to farm prices these days, don't we?) and fighting what could be the final blow to our economies. We would appreciate any input and hyperlinks from contributors on this list. We, as many on historical routes have much to offer. In Illinois, fully 33 per cent of the inquiries by tourists are about recreational facilities and lodging.

It's obvious that people want weekend getaways as well as glamorous vacations. Small towns that prepare and develop safe and pleasant surroundings of the "hometown" atmosphere can realize significant gains. We're looking for stories about those towns.

Key questions for now include:
Where are the conventions of investors interested in coordinated efforts for development of tourism, lodging, small business and light industry?

Where can we find case histories of success and failure stories that tell it like it is?

Middle sized cities are seeing great growth now. Many subdivisions are being built and somehow, every unit is being sold. We want to find the investors...not only banks, but other sources. I know, "so what else is new." But, we could use some knowledgeable advice.

How does a town offset an overabundance of HUD housing and section 8 rentals? The mistake was placing people in a town of 1300 that's at least an hour from the nearest city that has jobs. Local major lenders have told me our town is dead because of this and that anyone would be hard pressed to get a loan. I know of actual refusals of loans to people with impeccable credit.

I could go on and on, but I think you get some of the picture. The sad thing is, the towns where this movement to get the historical hiway designation(on one of many steps we need to take) are very rich in history. Illinois' worst passenger train wreck happened between two of the towns. It happened in 1887, not 1999.

Sam DePino
Chatsworth, Illinois
Sam153 @ aol.com