GTAG: GREATER TOWANDA AREA GROUP by Dennis Kirby July, 2006 The history of GTAG (or Towanda Area Group as it was originally organized) goes back to late 1983 and early 1984. Several citizens got together to discuss the lack of all types of activities in the Towanda vicinity, as well as the need to bring together the citizens of the Village, Lamplighter Subdivision (south of the Village) and Indian Creek Subdivision (north of the Village) into one representative voice. The Village, being the only local and legally constituted governmental unit, was concerned with the welfare of citizens within and not outside, the Village, and rightly so. Yet there were no organized parks and recreation programs in the area. Unplanned rural economic development was approaching from Bloomington/Normal. There was a lack of coordinated effort to obtain local phone service to the metropolitan area. Concerns about the placement of a much discussed eastside by-pass roadway between Interstates 55 and 74 and many other issues that impacted the entire Towanda area needed to be addressed by the entire Towanda area community. So, interested individuals from the Village, from Lamplighter, and Indian Creek came together and formed the Towanda Area Group (TAG). The initial focus of TAG was activities that brought the three communities together. The activities themselves focused on concerns that impacted the total area. Speakers were invited to discuss issues of safety--at rail road crossings, drug and alcohol usage and individual rights (Project OZ and State's Attorney Ron Dozier), bicycle safety, a MADD (Mothers Again Drunk Drivers) talk, and home emergency procedures (Fire Department). Other activities included an annual Towanda Heritage/Settler's Day, Memorial Day and Flag Day celebrations, community picnics, fishing derbies, Christmas lighting decoration contests, and clean-up/beautification of roadways, railroad tracks and parks around Towanda. Visits to the McLean County jail and several Normal Swim and Slide activities for the entire greater Towanda area also occurred. GTAG also assisted Eagle Scout candidates with their projects financially and with manpower. Rural people in Towanda Township wanted to be included in goals and activities of TAG, and so around 1988 the name was changed to Greater Towanda Area Group. Financial support came from cash donations from individuals and businesses, the soft drink vending machine in the community building, a food stand at the 4th of July celebrations, and participation sharing in the Walk for Mankind. The McLean County Regional Planning Commission was very helpful in looking at the long term planning of rural economic development, encroachment of
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Bloomington/Normal on the Towanda area, and the views of the local people on various issues impacting them. In the fall of 1996, GTAG conducted a major written survey of citizens in the greater Towanda area. Survey subjects were recreation, economic development, transportation/roads, water/water disposal, quality of life issues, government services, land use, education, and the future. The results of the survey were shared with the Village Board, local churches and businesses, and other associations. In February 1998 GTAG discontinued activities and in 2006 monies on deposit were donated to the Towanda Area Historical Society.
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Illinois State University, Milner Library, Normal, IL, 61790 - for the Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
The images in the Towanda Area Historical Society digital library may be viewed, downloaded, and printed for personal or educational use, but any commercial use is prohibited, without permission. Questions may be directed to the historical society at email@example.com or through the Towanda Illinois District Library at (309)728-2176.