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Hoping for More in Rural Illinois

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It could mean millions of dollars. 

A study will be starting on February 3 in Henry, Mercer and Rock Island Counties - all in an attempt to boost tourism numbers. 

It is being funded by a match grant from the government and if successful - could mean potentially millions of dollars going into communities - communities that have been losing money and population steadily over previous years. 

One of the cities that is going to studied is Geneseo - a town of 6,500.

"We tend to do a lot of things well," said Geneseo Chamber Director Brian DeJohn. "It would be nice to find that one thing to hone in and focus on."

Geneseo and Henry County have actually seen some good tourism numbers over the last three years - increasing 3% in that sector over the last three years. 

But more can be done - and that's what this study is aiming to find: The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to tourism throughout the three county area.

DeJohn is hoping this will provide a more focused direction in the future. 

"This would mean we no longer have to take a shogun approach where we are trying a little bit of everything in all different areas. We can find that one thing to focus on and then do it better than anyone else in the area."

But he says - this study will not be worth the money if only short term changes are made. 

In order to be truly effective - there needs to be a lasting difference.

"It tells us where the future goes. What it is we need to focus on moving forward. How we can capitalize on it and how we can build the assets we already have in the community."

If you would like more information on the study: contact Cathy Foes at 877-436-7296

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