On April 18 I posted a blog “Lest We Forget”. One of the comments I received came from Kevin Reynen, Director of Institutional Technology at Bradley University. I answered Mr. Reynen on that site but promised him I would go into more detail in a new blog. Mr. Reynen must be new in town; I couldn’t find him listed in the phone book. He evidently doesn’t read the newspapers when he insinuated creative persons like himself and his friends, would leave Peoria if there was “nothing to do” in this community. I suggest he should have read the response to Journal Star editorial writer, Mike Bailey, who upset the riverfront investors. Developer Mike Wisdom wrote a “letter to the editor” signed by most everybody downtown, entitled “Here’s what Dilbert can do Downtown”. Mike and his co-signers listed approximately 11 columnar inches of things you can do downtown including the more than 500 events hosted annually at the Civic Center and 200 events at the riverfront.
Some “creative types” might also enjoy Big Al’s, Fantasyland & Elliott’s. Moving westward and Northwest from the riverfront, we have the libraries, Lakeview Museum, the racetrack, The Shoppes and IMAX and of course Bradley with all their year round activities. Across the river we have the gambling boat, Eastside, the new convention center, ICC, the Barn dinner theatre to name a few. Then we have Peoria Park District with their hundreds of activities spread out over nine thousand acres of parkland. Maybe Mr. Reynen and his friends like physical activities such as tennis (44 courts) the many golf clubs in the area. We offer two major Country Clubs with all kinds of amenities and health clubs by the dozens. Not enough things for you to do? Maybe you’re just not getting around enough. If you’ve been to all these places and done all these things, (did I mention boating, fishing and hunting,) then I guess it’s soon to be goodbye. Too bad, we’ll miss you guys!! The mountains and the desert are great places to live also. I’ve done that.
Mr. Reynen asks me if I’m a fiscal conservative or a “piss on everything” type of guy. Again I’ll excuse his ignorance because as I’ve said, he is evidently new in town. But just to update him, I came to Peoria in 1964 and established a business that still bears my name even though I sold it 13 years ago. I met a payroll for 28 years. Once you have to meet a payroll, Mr. Reynen; it changes your perspective of how your tax dollars are being spent. I am definitely pro the private sector!!
At times I was a major contributor to Bradley; Mr. Reynen could find my name on a plaque in the engineering department honoring me for my contribution. He could even find I even sponsored an award at Bradley for over twenty years until I asked my name be removed last year. In fact, I was Vice-President of the Bradley Chiefs Club
If Mr. Reynen cares to read the approximately 60 blogs I posted since last August and some of my 38 “letters to the editors” the newspapers published in the past 10 years, he might get to know me better. His question of whether I am a fiscal conservative or “piss on everything” person is typically “university speak” these days. Things are either black or white. That I am a fiscal conservative is a given. I’m hardly against bringing new things to town: I brought one to town myself 41 years. However, Mr. Reynen is absolutely entitled to his own opinion of me as we allow free speech in this country. (witness our universities) I appreciate his reading me and would encourage him to join us bloggers so he can get a wider forum for his opinions.
I’ve always been inclusive and transparent in what I say, write or do. But I’m seldom “politically correct”. I do, in order to build up my self esteem, believe I have a modicum of common sense and on many occasion, proved it.
He asks me what I would do to improve Peoria. This blog is already too long but if you really want my opinion, which is pretty representative of the mainstream, keep reading my blogs and visit my archives.
He asks if most bloggers are negative in what they write. No, I think they are voices of concern often never heard, who have found a medium where they can be read and heard; they have the courage to write to the whole world and accept people’s comments on what they write. If not many people read them or comment, so what? At least they get an opportunity to express how they see things or feel about what goes on in the community or the world.
PS. Did I forget biking, hiking and skateboarding (if you can find the skateboard park.) Did I leave out football and hockey? Probably left out a lot of other “activities.” I also forgot to mention the emergency rooms at some of the hospitals where things can get pretty exciting early Saturday and Sunday mornings. I guess it all depends on what each of us would like to see in the community in which we live.