January 08, 2019

Duckworth & Durbin Re-Introduce Bill to Expand Lincoln National Heritage Area, Create Economic Opportunity in Central Illinois


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today re-introduced legislation to honor the legacy of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, by expanding the Lincoln National Heritage Area in Central Illinois to include Livingston County, the city of Jonesboro in Union County and the city of Freeport in Stephenson County. The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area Amendment Act would expand economic opportunities for Illinoisans working to preserve the historic site and create new recreation, tourism and educational projects. The legislation unanimously passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee after a hearing last year. U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16) has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“President Lincoln is a true American hero who expanded liberty and freedom for many and worked tirelessly to keep our country intact through one of our most challenging times. Our democracy would not be what it is today without his leadership,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to introduce this bill to honor his legacy while also bringing new opportunities for economic growth to local communities across central Illinois.”

“By expanding the Lincoln National Heritage Area, we can give more Illinois residents and visitors the chance to learn more about President Lincoln’s lasting legacy in our great state,” said Durbin. “This bill also supports local communities by letting them access federal grants for preservation, education, and economic growth.”

The existing Lincoln National Heritage Area was established in 2008 and preserves the rich legacy of President Lincoln. The region includes 42 counties across central Illinois, stretching from the Indiana border to the Mississippi River, and is one of the largest heritage areas in the nation. The site generates approximately $260 million in economic impact, supports more than 3,000 jobs and generates $25.5 million in tax revenue.

The counties that would be added to the Lincoln National Heritage Area under this legislation are of special significance to President Lincoln’s personal and professional life. These areas are where Lincoln developed his legal career within the Eighth Judicial District. They are also home to the sites of the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.