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KANKAKEE — The Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau is back to working in the office, but it is in a new location.

Having been in Manteno since 2016, the CVB office, under the direction of director Staci Wilken, is now located in downtown Kankakee, on the second floor of 143 N. Schuyler Ave.

The agency has signed a six-month lease with property owner Jerry Kuntz for a total of $5,000.

The organization is in the process of moving into the new site. Wilken expects to be ready for normal day-to-day operations this coming week.

“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to do work out of our office and be part of the community again,” she said. “I’m so excited to be out and about again.”

Due to the pandemic and the havoc it created for the travel and hotel industries, the CVB closed its Manteno office along Marquette Place in the early fall of 2020 and operations were moved to Wilken’s residence.

The office was part of the Municipal Trust & Savings Bank property in Manteno.

Wilken is the only employee at the CVB.

Wilken thanked Municipal Trust president Cathy Boicken for the partnership they had for the past several years regarding the office.

She noted Cathy Boicken recognized the difficult position the CVB found itself and she aided the organization through the transition.

“We are now looking to reboot tourism here. We want to be partners in the rebranding of Kankakee County,” she said.

Regardless of where the tourism office is located, she said, the organization will work to promote every community in the county.

“Kankakee County is our home,” she said. “We love all the communities we serve.”

Kankakee County, like most other areas, has re-opened to outsiders after the government-imposed shutdown brought on by the pandemic. Wilken said one of her main tasks will be making sure people outside of the county’s border understand what attractions this county offers visitors.

“It’s time to get back to work,” she said. “We will continue to do great things.”

Lee Provost, an award-winning reporter, has been writing local news stories for The Daily Journal since 1988. He is a lifelong resident of the region. Provost can be reached at lprovost@daily-journal.com.