Danville’s David S. Palmer Arena to Receive $621,765 in Remaining Tourism Grant Money Owed Since 2014

State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) announced today that $621,765 in grant funds that have been owed to Danville’s David S. Palmer Arena for more than three years should finally be released within the next few weeks.

“When I learned the remaining portion of an initial $850,000 grant was finally being released to the Danville Civic Center, I thought the Center couldn’t possibly receive a better or timelier Christmas gift,” said Hays, who fought relentlessly for the release of the overdue funds. “This grant was part of a statewide program launched during the Quinn administration in 2014 to revitalize civic centers and promote tourism across the state. Unfortunately, while some of the grants were distributed, funds awarded to the Palmer Arena were frozen in early 2015. As an issue of fairness, I was not going to allow Danville’s share of that money fall by the wayside.”

Governor Bruce Rauner approved the release of remaining funds this week and said, “The David S. Palmer Arena is a real asset to the Danville Community. We’re happy to release these capitol funds to help with physical infrastructure upgrades that will support this facility, providing fun for generations to come.”

Peter Blackmon, General Manager of the David S. Palmer Arena, said the delays tied to the Danville grant have been frustrating. “To have that carrot dangled in front of us only to see it pulled away again and again was extremely frustrating, so learning that the money is finally coming through a bond sale taking place next week is tremendous news,” Blackmon said. “Representative Hays never forgot how important that money was for us and he never stopped fighting for it. We certainly thank him for the tenacity with which he kept this issue alive until the remaining money was released.”

The Danville Civic Center opened in 1980 and was later named the David S. Palmer Arena. It is a staple of Danville’s downtown corridor, offering a conference center, concert hall and a venue for athletic and other regional events. In addition to providing meeting space and entertainment in Central Illinois, events at the civic center boost economic activity at area restaurants, retail stores, hotels and other recreational and tourism activities in the area.

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