The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 1, 2013

Facility holds much promise

The Commercial-News

---- — In less than two weeks, Vermilion County Conservation District officials will dedicate the newest addition to the county park system, the Kennekuk Environmental Education Center.

On Sept. 15, the public will be able to tour the building, which includes classrooms, office space and kitchen.

It’s the first step of a three-phase project to construct and education and conference center at Kennekuk County Park.

Vermilion County students — hundreds of them — will be among the first to benefit from the education center as they go through the district’s Outdoor School.

As important as the school education programs are, however, the education center could be a big boost to the local economy as well.

Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the project will add a museum, more classrooms and a conference center. The latter could serve as an attraction for seminars and even small conventions that would add to Vermilion County’s still growing number of visitors.

The natural beauty of Kennekuk County Park with the benefit of a modern meeting facility could mean a financial boost for area hotels, restaurants and other attractions.

Fundraising continues for the next stages of construction as officials prepare to open the doors on the center at 1 p.m. Sept. 15. The new building was constructed with the help of the Vermilion County Conservation District Foundation and a $1 million grant from the Illinois Department of commerce and Economic Development.

Visit this unique facility when it opens. As Jeremy Parrish, one of the district’s educators said:

“That’s the exciting thing — the possibilities are kind of endless …”