News Column

Area's heritage showcased during first River Cruise

August 4, 2014

By Amy Kent, Clinton Herald, Iowa

Aug. 04--CLINTON -- Courtesy of a Curtis-Armstrong Foundation grant, the first Mississippi River Heritage Cruise unfolded Sunday and organizers say it lived up to expectations.

The tour, which featured a visit to Clinton'sSawmill Museum, a trip to Lock and Dam 13 in the Clinton County Conservation's Blue Heron pontoon boat and a trip over the north bridge to the Fulton, Illinois, Windmill Cultural Center, is the first of many more to come, Sawmill Museum Director Matt Parbs said.

"What's really exciting was this was our trial run," Parbs said. "We'll be doing about 20 of these over the course of two years thanks to the Curtis-Armstrong grant. As it moves forward, it really aims at driving traffic to the Gateway area."

Though the organizers were a little disappointed with the tour's registration numbers, they were pleased with the participants' enthusiasm.

Windmill Cultural Center volunteer Neil Luker assisted two separate groups Sunday. He said the reception from each group was encouraging to the heritage cruise's future.

"I think it worked out really well," Luker said. "Everybody who came seemed to have a good time. We think it's a great idea for all of us."

While the cruise is aimed to bring attention to the Gateway area and all the features it has to offer for visitors, Parbs said it is also for the local residents who may not know about what their communities have to offer.

He added the cruise is designed to refresh the people of the Gateway area about the educational offerings they have.

As the three organizations continue to plan the cruises over the course of two years, Parbs said they hope to make a few changes as well as reach out to other groups in the area who would be interested in adding their facilities to the tour list.

"It would be nice to rotate it, and perhaps find a fourth site," Parbs said. "I'd like to see the Curtis Mansion, the Historical Society, the Bickelhaupt Arboretum, those kind of things anything we can find to promote the Gateway area."

Whether they add other locations to the list is still to be seen, but Luker said he would like the Windmill Cultural Center to continue the cruise and the partnership.

"I don't want to speak for any of the Millers but I'm sure they would be more than happy to have people come to see what we do here," Luker said. "Why wouldn't they?"


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Source: Clinton Herald (IA)

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