Local tourism bureau helps pay to reopen Metropolis rest area

A popular rest area is back open. The Metropolis, Illinois rest stop closed almost seven months ago because of an unpaid water bill. That was because of an issue with state funding. The Greater Metropolis Convention and Visitors Bureau helped pay that bill and got the rest stop open again. They say for business, it’s a no brainer.

A study found there are 1.9 million people who come through this rest area. And that’s why tourism leaders say it was a no brainer to do all they could to help open the doors again

“Hectic,” that’s how rest area coordinator Brenda Metcalf describes her first week back at work. Metcalf says they can handle the rush, because she knows their services are needed.

“This is Illinois, we need to greet people,” says Metcalf.

Director of Tourism for the Greater Metropolis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Trish Steckenrider says she was asked if they would be interested to help pay the water bill and help reopen the rest stop.

What she had to say, “Absolutely! Not even a second thought on that because we knew how many visitors come through here."

Steckenrider says last year, local businesses and tourism saw a dip in sales, just because travelers had no place to stop here. She says, “We definitely wanted to get it open so they could direct people into Metropolis to shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants and stay in our hotels.”

Metcalf says she’s just glad to get back to doing what she loves most, “We don’t have the skyscrapers that they have farther on up, but we have Superman.”

The Greater Metropolis Convention and Visitors Bureau has set aside $15,000 to pay the water bill until the end of the year.

Trish Steckenrider says once the budget is passed, the state will reimburse the visitors bureau the money they’ve spent to keep the rest stop open.