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National Railroad Hall of Fame gaining steam in Galesburg

The project was awarded a $478,414 state tourism grant.

The dream to build the National Railroad Hall of Fame in Galesburg has been scaled down since the project was first announced to the public in 2006.

Fundraising was stalled, and there’s been doubt the project would ever come to fruition.

But recent commitments including a $478,414 state tourism grant are inching the dream closer to reality.

“We’re just very grateful to the state of Illinois for these funds as well as to the city and county for the confidence that they’ve shown in the project,” said Julie King, executive director of the National Railroad Hall of Fame.

King said with the state grant, a $1 million commitment from the city of Galesburg, $250,000 from Knox County and other donations, nearly $5.6 million has now been raised.

Current plans call for construction of a new building downtown next to the Amtrak station that would celebrate railroading history and bring in tourism dollars from around the world.

Now a national capital campaign is being reactivated.

“We’ll be seeking the balance of the funding from private sector donors both nationally and ultimately here in our community,” King said. “Our goal for that portion of the campaign is $4 million.”

King said that is a reachable goal.

It covers the cost of inflation on the project as well as contingencies and an endowment.

Once the funds are in place, it’s expected construction on the National Railroad Hall of Fame would take 18 months.

The idea to build the National Railroad Hall of Fame in Galesburg dates back to the 1990s.

The organization has been inducting people into NRRHOF since 2002.

Congress passed resolutions officially designating Galesburg as the site in 2003 and 2004.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Copyright 2023 Tri States Public Radio. To see more, visit Tri States Public Radio.

Jane Carlson