LEMONT – The Canal Corridor Association, the local coordinating entity for the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, is expected to open an office in the Lemont Metra Station within the month.
Lemont Village Administrator George Schafer said the village is negotiating a lease with the association for the space previously occupied by the Lemont Chamber of Commerce, which now is operating out of Lemont Village Hall.
Ana Koval, president and CEO of the Canal Corridor Association, said the office would be staffed by one person and used primarily for internal purposes because of its small size, but that the association will put brochures and small exhibits in the station.
The association is at the western end of the canal in LaSalle. Koval said it has been looking for an eastern office along the canal, which starts in Chicago and continues through the Calumet region.
“As we were looking at our options, I think that with (Interstate 355) open, Lemont is an easy place for a lot of people to get to,” she said.
Koval said the association also was attracted to the village’s historical character.
“We’re all about historic preservation of downtowns also, so we wouldn’t have opened up in a strip mall,” she said.
Koval said the village of Lemont was eager to help the association find an office that meets its needs.
Schafer said the village has worked closely with the association in the past.
“It’s good to have their presence in our downtown to bring visitors,” he said.
Koval said the association eventually will look for a larger eastern office that could house a visitor center. Lemont would receive consideration for the location.
A visitor center would allow the association to conduct a series of training workshops and have public meetings and educational programs, Koval said. Lemont is among a rotation of towns that the association uses for public meetings.