Travel & Tourism
Summer Success Leads to Visitor Campaign Growth PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Kristine Reeves   
Monday, 21 April 2014 15:02

DES MOINES, IA – Today the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau launches its largest summer marketing campaign to-date, partnering with fourteen local organizations to bring visitors to Greater Des Moines.

The campaign includes TV, cable, radio, digital billboard and online advertising in four markets across Iowa and surrounding states, timing as follows:

Omaha/Council Bluffs: April - May

Central Iowa: June - July

Southern Minnesota: June - July

Eastern Iowa: July - August

The TV, cable and radio spots feature music by local band, the River Monks. The campaign is made possible by the support of the following advertising partners:

·         Prairie Meadows

·         Homemakers

·         Adventureland Park

·         Iowa Speedway

·         Iowa State Fair

·         Des Moines Performing Arts

·         Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX Dome Theater

·         Jordan Creek Town Center

·         Blank Park Zoo

·         Des Moines Art Center

·         Valley West Mall

·         National Balloon Classic

·         Des Moines Arts Festival

·         80/35 Music Festival

With the strong support of the summer campaign, an additional arts and culture campaign will be announced soon.

The 2013 summer campaign contributed to a three-year high in hotel occupancy during the peak summer travel months in Greater Des Moines. Additionally, more than 90,000 inquires were gained year-over-year in comparison to the 2012 campaign.

How to Catch Summer in Des Moines:

·         Find exclusive deals and discounts from participating partners at

·         Enter to win tickets, hotel stays, restaurant and winery gift cards during May 12-16 and May 19-23 at

The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote Greater Des Moines as a fun, vibrant and affordable destination statewide, nationally and internationally. Our focus increases visitors to our community through meetings, conventions, sports events, leisure travel, and group tours, thereby contributing to the local economy.

You Can Still Sail and Save! 2015 GAHC River Cruise Special Extended! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by G A H C   
Monday, 21 April 2014 08:56
Friends, you have one more chance to get in on a savings opportunity for a river cruise in Germany.
Our travel agent dropped by to say that we should notify our members/friends that our River Cruise for 2015 still has 15 spots available and that the cruise line is still honoring the original discount of 10% off with a $250 down payment and payment of insurance by May 1.   Interested travelers should contact Linda Meadors (all details are on our website).

The GAHC Heritage Motor Coach Tour is also still accepting travelers; no discount.

Governor Quinn Unveils Six-Year, $8.6 Billion Transportation Construction Program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Katie Hickey   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 15:22

New Multi-Year Plan Will Improve 1,845 Miles of Highway, Replace or Rehabilitate 384 Bridges and Make Major Investments in Public Transit

SPRINGFIELD – Days after receiving positive feedback from bond rating agencies regarding his fiscal year 2015 budget plan, Governor Pat Quinn today unveiled a six-year, $8.6 billion construction program that will improve roads and bridges throughout Illinois while making major investments in public transportation. The projects are part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and build a 21st century infrastructure that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“This comprehensive plan for our highways, public transit, rail and airport projects will make critical repairs and major improvements across Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “A booming economy requires a 21st century infrastructure. Our infrastructure plan will create thousands of construction jobs now while paving the way for more jobs and economic development in the future.”

The fiscal years 2015-2020 highway improvement program will improve 1,845 miles of highway and replace or rehabilitate 384 bridges across Illinois. Among hundreds of projects across the state, the plan includes:

  • $308.6 million for construction of a new I-74/US 6 bridge in Moline
  • $107.9 million for bridge replacements on the Stevenson Expressway in Chicago
  • $110 million for the Alton-Godfrey Expressway
  • $204.4 million for US 150 improvements including a bridge replacement in Peoria
  • $76.4 million for bridge replacements along I-80 in Will County
  • $71 million for a new I-64 bridge over the Wabash River in White County
  • $29 million to reconstruct IL Rt. 2/North Main in Rockford
  • $52 million for work on I-74 near Champaign and Danville
  • $65.2 million for work on IL Rt. 47 in Kendall County
  • $27.8 million for resurfacing and bridge work on I-72/US 51 in Decatur
  • $27.7 million for improvements to I-72 between New Berlin and Chatham Road in Sangamon County
  • $73.9 million for I-70 resurfacing and bridge repair in the Effingham area
  • $36.2 million for I-57 road and bridge work around Kankakee
  • $65 million for improvements to Route 104 in Morgan and Pike Counties

The improvement program also includes $1.85 billion for public transportation and $800 million for airports with $161 million for fiscal year 2015. Highlights include:

  • $60 million to re-establish passenger rail service, which includes a new station in South Elgin for the Chicago-Rockford-Dubuque Corridor in Cook, DuPage and Kane Counties
  • $585.1 million to purchase up to 160 Electric Highliner Metra Commuter Cars
  • $222 million to provide new intercity passenger rail service between Chicago and Moline for the Chicago-Quad Cities-Iowa City Corridor in Cook and DuPage Counties
  • $132.6 million for the Englewood Flyover to reduce Amtrak, Metra and freight passenger rail congestion
  • Funding to continue land acquisition and pursue final approval of the South Suburban Airport with the Federal Aviation Administration
  • $2.45 million to purchase four 35-foot diesel buses, three super medium duty diesel buses, eight medium duty diesel buses and one minivan for replacement for the Southeastern Illinois RIDES Mass Transit District

“We have made tremendous progress the past few years toward improving the state’s transportation infrastructure,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said. “However, with federal revenue sources dwindling and the end in sight for Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! program, I look forward to supporting the Governor’s call for a bipartisan working group to find ways to continue this progress.”

“Replacing the functionally obsolete I-74 bridge across the Mississippi River will not only increase safety but it will create jobs and economic growth across our region,” Congresswoman Cheri Bustos said. “I am encouraged that Governor Quinn has included this important project in this construction plan and I will continue to work with local, state and federal leaders to ensure it remains prioritized and continues to move forward.”

For fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1, 2014, the program has allocated $1.88 billion for road projects, $1.85 billion for public transportation, $2.7 million for rail and $161 million for airport improvements. For the six years of the plan, a total of $5.82 billion is targeted to state highway system improvements with $2.77 billion going toward local transportation needs.

The plan includes $6.99 billion in anticipated federal funds, $1.16 billion in state funds and the remaining $450 million from local and other sources. The $158 million remaining for road and bridge projects from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program is also included in this multi-year program.

Projects that are part of the fiscal years 2015-2020 program will begin after July 1 of this year. Of those projects, IDOT is offering contractors a reimbursement rate of $15 an hour for hiring graduates of the Highway Construction Careers Training Program, an IDOT-sponsored initiative to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in the transportation construction industry.

The Governor is also asking the Illinois General Assembly to form a bipartisan working group to establish the next capital bill to ensure our roads, rail, transit and airports receive additional funding to ensure they are reliable and efficient for the future. Thanks to the Illinois Jobs Now capital bill more than $15.12 billion has been invested in the state’s highways system alone from January 2009 through March 2013, improving more than 7,700 miles of roadways and more than 1,330 bridges.

Today’s announcement follows news yesterday that Standard and Poor’s has joined the other two bond rating agencies in noting Illinois’ progress in addressing its budget challenges. The agencies recognized the hard work the state has done to cut costs, pay down old bills and pass a comprehensive pension reform plan. Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch agreed that Governor Quinn’s proposed fiscal year 2015 Budget could bring long-term fiscal stability to Illinois.

The multi-year transportation program builds upon the success of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which is supporting more than 400,000 jobs over six years. It is the largest construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest construction programs in the nation. Prior to its passage by the Illinois General Assembly in 2009, Illinois had gone nearly a decade without a major program to address its critical infrastructure needs.

Plan highlights can be found at


Iowa State Fair Campgrounds Open April 18 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Lori Chappell   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 08:12

DES MOINES, IA (04/08/2014)(readMedia)-- Winter is finally drawing to a close and, with Memorial Day around the corner, now is the perfect time shed some of that cabin fever by planning a worry-free weekend in the great outdoors. The Iowa State Fair Campgrounds have plenty of campsites available beginning Friday, April 18, through mid-July with country comforts alongside city conveniences and excitement.

The Campgrounds house more than 2300 sites fully equipped with water and electrical hookups, including 734 sites with sewers, and three large bathhouses outfitted with clean showers, toilets and sinks. In addition to the excellent facilities, the Campgrounds offer affordable rates: $25 per night for sites equipped with water, electricity and sewer; $23 per night for sites equipped with water and electricity; and $20 per night for sites without utilities.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the Iowa State Fair Campgrounds office at 515/262-3111 x284. Campers without reservations are welcome as well. Enter through one of the Fairgrounds' main entrances off East University Avenue or East 30th Street and follow the signs into the Campgrounds.

The beautiful, 160-acre Iowa State Fair Campgrounds are home to century-old trees, woodland flora and small wildlife. The Campgrounds are easy to find and conveniently located just off Interstates 80 and 35. Just minutes from Des Moines-area attractions like Adventureland Park, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, and the East Village's dining and shopping options as well as all Fairgrounds events, the Iowa State Fair Campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy the comforts of home and the excitement of the city at a manageable cost.

The Fairgrounds are located at East 30th and East University Avenue, just 10 minutes east of downtown Des Moines. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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Quad Cities Area Governments Receive Transportation Funding PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Katie Hickey   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:26

Governor Quinn Announces $100 Million for Local Transportation Improvements Across Illinois

Illinois Jobs Now! Investments Include $3.2Million for Henderson, Henry, Knox, Mercer, Rock Island, Warren and Whiteside Counties to Address Critical Needs Following Historic Winter

CHICAGO – As the spring thaw begins, Governor Pat Quinn today announced $100 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! construction program to repair municipal and township infrastructure throughout the state. The funding will help communities throughout Illinois combat potholes and make other critical infrastructure repairs following the historic winter weather Illinois faced. Today’s announcement is part of the Governor’s agenda to create jobs and build a 21st century infrastructure that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“The extreme and historic winter has left many roads in rough shape,” Governor Quinn said. “This investment will help local communities repair the damage done by Mother Nature and improve the quality of life for residents and businesses.”

Today’s announcement includes approximately $3.2 million for local governments in Henderson, Henry, Knox, Mercer, Rock Island, Warren and Whiteside Counties. The funding is the last of a series of annual transportation investments that municipalities have received through Governor Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! program since 2010. In his fiscal year 2015 budget address, the Governor proposed a bipartisan working group to develop a new capital spending plan for the next five years.

The projects will be selected and managed locally, with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) providing oversight.

“This capital funding for local transportation projects shows our continued dedication to supporting local governments,” IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider said. “These local projects will improve the quality of life for residents, stimulate the economy and address immediate infrastructure needs.”

In addition to the Illinois Jobs Now! funds announced today, local governments in the counties listed above will receive more than $18.4 million in Motor Fuel Tax funds this year.

Late last week two bond rating agencies released their reviews of Illinois’ finances ahead of the upcoming sale of $250 million in General Obligation bonds that will finance roads, bridges and schools around the state. While they say the state still has work to do, they note the hard work the state has done to cut costs, pay down old bills and pass a comprehensive pension reform plan. Both agencies agreed that the Governor’s proposed budget would bring long-term fiscal stability to Illinois.

According to Fitch Ratings, “The governor's recommended budget for the coming fiscal year would … provide a basis for the state to achieve fiscal balance.”

For a list of the local governments receiving funding through today's announcement, please visit


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