We welcome you to explore our unique blend of natural beauty, heritage and urban attractions along 57 miles of winding river. Kankakee County is located just 50 miles south of Chicago, off of Interstate 57. Routes 45/52, 50 and 17 also run through the River Valley. O'Hare International Airport is 75 miles north of Kankakee County, and Midway Airport is 50 miles north. The Greater Kankakee airport is also available for personal aircraft landing space.
Did someone say free money!? Well Visit Kankakee County sorta did! We are about to roll out the second round of our Community Tourism Action Plan (CTAP) Grant. These investments are meant to keep Kankakee County powering forward in its efforts to provide unique experiences for residents and visitors alike.
This will be our second round of the CTAP grant this year. After a very successful first round, we are excited to see what ideas, events and products spark during this round. The CTAP grants are investments in tourism-related projects that foster and stimulate increased visitation and visitor spending within Kankakee County. We want to add vibrancy to our communities that will entice visitors to make a trip and residents to enjoy what is in their own backyard. The grant is split into two different programs. One is for smaller projects where the grant amounts are between $5,000 and $24,999, and the applicant must match 25% of the awarded funding. The other grant program is for large projects and organizations where the amount awarded is between $25,000 and $500,000, and these applicants must be able to match 50% of the awarded amount.
Our first round of the CTAP Grant was very successful. Of the 23 applications we received, nine organizations received a total of $637,500. That’s quite an investment in our community! The projects we funded ranged from new events, to expanding on established events, to helping with the first phase of a river walk! See below for a quick overview of the organizations and projects that were awarded funding.
Check out these videos for a sneak peek of each project.
The Collaborative Initiative to Revive Kankakee Arts (CIRKA) received $2,500 to help with marketing Estival Festival, a local art festival showcasing the talented artists of Kankakee.
Knack Brewing & Fermentations received $5,000 to assist in creating their all-season outdoor beer patio. The concrete has been poured and the fence is up. The owners are now deciding what permanent tables and fixtures will fit their eclectic vibe.
Deer Ridge Barn, a popular wedding and event venue, received $5,000 to add a pavilion to their space and allow the venue to operate into the colder months.
Connect Roasters, a local coffee roaster, received $5,000 to help with the opening of their new café in Bourbonnais, as well as for marketing workshops and classes they often host.
The Community Arts Council of Kankakee County partnered with the Kankakee County Historical Society and received $5,000 to help implement a new holiday event Miracle on 8th. This Kris Kringle-type market, set for December 9th, will be set up on the grounds of the Kankakee County Museum and coincide with many area holiday celebrations inspiring an overnight stay.
Adventure Commons received $15,000 to assist in securing gymnastics and other events equating to more hotel room nights and revenue being generated in Kankakee County.
The Village of Bourbonnais received $50,000 for a mobile synthetic ice rink, providing year-round ice skating. This is a perfect addition to the expansion of their community campus.
Locavore Farm, a dine-on-the-land experience in Grant Park, received $50,000 to extend its farm-to-table dining from a 24-week season to a 44-week season. They have used the funding to insulate their barn to accommodate guests through the colder seasons.
The Kankakee Riverfront Society received $500,000 for the first phase of the East Riverwalk. Groundbreaking is scheduled for fall 2023. This project lays the foundation for riverfront entertainment, beautiful greenspace, outdoor venues, dining establishments, and other developments. There is so much more to come!
As you can see from the first round of CTAP funding, so many great experiences are on the horizon. If you're a visitor, we hope this excites you to plan a trip! If you are a local, let this inspire you! Is there an event or opportunity you’re dreaming of for Kankakee County? We want to hear from you!
Kankakee County is located just 50 miles south of Chicago!