GRAFTON - The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced that $210,000 has been included in the 2023 Statewide Planning & Research Program (SPR/PL) to conduct a study of the ferry systems in Grafton / Calhoun Region. The City of Grafton and the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau worked with the America’s Central Port District to create the grant request titled “Ferry Landing Operations Attract Tourists” (FLOAT).

The funding breakdown for the FLOAT was $168,000 federal and $42,000 State Matching Funds. “This is a much-needed study for our tourism-based city,” said Mayor Morrow. “In order to improve and expand our transportation network we need to quantify how important this ferry system is to our region and the state. This study will do that, and it will give us a roadmap for future development and targeted grants.” The study will provide an overview of transportation networks in the Great River Road Corridor that connects the region, and it will detail how people travel.

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“This study is a big win for the region and is the first step in creating a year-round ferry service for residents in Grafton and the surrounding region,” commented Cory Jobe, President and CEO of the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau. “Not only would year round ferry service enhance the livability of the region, it is also an opportunity for enhanced tourism in Grafton throughout the year.”

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“There was a lot of work over the last year by the grant team and IDOT,” said Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director. “This will be a comprehensive study that will take an in depth look at the state’s ferry systems and provide recommendations to the State of Illinois, local counties and municipalities.” The study is expected to take up to 18 months to complete.

Photos provided by Dave Sanford, City Photographer.

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