I predicted in January that Bergner’s at Sheridan Village would close this year. Today I learned that an offer had been made to buy the entire Sheridan Shopping Center for $17 million dollars. My sources have been reliable in the past. I suspect to replicate the Sheridan Village at today’s prices would cost about $70,000,000.00. Is somebody getting a great deal or are shopping centers like the village, dead?
Drive the city of Peoria and look at all the empty, for sale and for lease properties and the many vacant recently built buildings. Observe the really bad condition of the streets you are driving on like Knoxville north of Forrest Hill, look at all the tax supported money losing completed projects like the RiverPlex and the ball park, observe those soon to be big money losing projects like the zoo now underway, look at the chances of success of those projects on the drawing boards, see the referendum on the April ballots for an additional $32 million for the library board; everybody likes libraries no matter that we have books and computers financed or purchased by taxpayer dollars all over Peoria and most all in head on competition with Barnes and Noble and Borders. (If we can build ball parks we can surely build libraries.) Right??
Even the highly touted “private” Firefly has already spent millions of taxpayer dollars and they won’t stay in Peoria without more contributions by the taxpayers. If you are a property owner watch your property tax bills rise with your blood pressure at an accelerated rate. To some of us retired, we do not see a pretty picture. To those of you that have the money inherited or earned and holding guaranteed 6 figure jobs, no problem. For many of us our finances are just another worry so no big deal. Right??
So far, Peoria Public School District #150 and their strategic growth plan has succeeded in buying $800,000.00 of buildings they can’t use; oh yes, three houses will be homes for Chinese people who are coming over here from China so they can teach our kids Chinese; kids who struggle mightily with the English language who will soon leave this community to go somewhere where people speak Chinese. I have lived in this community for 44 years and have yet to meet anyone of Chinese birth unless they were a college student or owned or worked in a restaurant and they spoke English. We would have been better off going to Iraq and bringing back the persecuted Iraqi teachers as there is a greater need for Iraqi interpreters.
The next few years are going to tell whether our leader’s grand visions turn into realties or nightmares.
Back to Knoxville and Rt. 40 going north, major gateways into the city and they ride like lumber roads. One of the first things I notice when visiting a city is the condition of their roadways; I call this similar to eating in a restaurant with dirty restrooms. I don’t.
Wish us all luck. I believe we are going to need it; we common people and the visionaries.