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October 5, 2005
Posted online: October 6, 2005 5:50PM

Is this good for tourism?
Alexander County Tourism Facts

From a survey commissioned by Illinois Tourism 2004, figures for Alexander County show that the amount of tourism dollars spent in the county was $5.02 million, up 7% from 2003. That $120,000 of tax revenue was generated in Cairo by tourism in 2004.

With these figures it is hard to figure why the mayor of Cairo wants to close the Cairo Custom House Museum and sell Riverlore.

Cairo has five major tourist attractions; the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Cairo Custom House Museum, the Cairo Public Library, Riverlore and Magnolia Manor. The confluence is God given, Magnolia Manor is governed by the Historical Society and the other three are city property, with governing boards. For these five entities, the tax revenue generated seems like quite a large sum. Why would the mayor not want to keep them open?

I have been told, by a lady in Carbondale, that within the last couple of months she phoned the city hall and asked when the Custom House was open, only to be told that it's never open. When she asked for the phone number to check for herself, she was refused the number. So this is the way City Hall is promoting tourism in Cairo!

With the figures we have in hand, expenses at the Custom House Museum do not exceed the $12,000 appropriated in the city budget. Still, last Thursday and Friday the mayor sent a letter to the utility and water companies asking them to shut off services to Riverlore and the museum. This they will not do until they have it in writing that the city council approves of these moves. He was successful in getting the phone service cut off. In so doing, he destroyed the security system, and left anyone working in the building without communications in case there was a fire, theft or medical problem; in other words, they were not safe.

People away from the area are hearing that the mayor is closing the museum and are phoning to ask for their possessions back, whether they have given them or just put them on loan. Is this good for tourism?

The library is in jeopardy because the mandated city tax money is not being given them. Plus, there has not been an audit of the city books in the 28 months the mayor has been in office. This is state mandated!

© 2005 The Cairo Gate