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Fairbury officials push for local hotel

A group of local businessman in Fairbury is making noise to place a hotel at what's considered a famous corner in the Livingston County community.

The new facility would occupy the lower level of the Walton Centre in downtown Fairbury. The building was once a retail hub in the region, with three floors of retail space in the tradition of grand American department stores.

Now there's a banquet facility on the second floor, which won't be changed, but a steering committee is hoping to make the lower level profitable by converting it to a 16-unit hotel.

A study was done by the Rural Economic Technical Assistance Center at Western Illinois University in 2008 for a different hotel proposal, and the study determined that a hotel in Fairbury would do a brisk business; perhaps a 67 percent occupancy rate.

The steering committee for the project said events such as the Fairbury fair and established attractions such as the Fairbury Speedway are already drawing significant numbers of people to the community, but the lack of a local hotel means equally significant revenues are leaving the community at the end of the day.

The organizers said the goal is to keep that money in Fairbury. The proposed facility will include two suites, eight rooms with two Queen-size beds, and six rooms with a single King-size bed. There will also be a conference room as part of the hotel, while the upper floor will continue to serve as a banquet facility.

94.1 FM, WGFA