The Journal Star has never in recent years seen a public tax spending project they didn't like. I have incentive to live for at least another 6-7 years to see if all the tax spending entities live up to the the Journal's forecasts. Let's look at the Journals losers todate: The now "getting old" by some Peorians standards, O'Brien "new" ballpark, hasn't turned a profit to this stockholder ever. (My stock has been listed for sale since 1998 with nary an offer) The RiverPlex; The JS is never mentions how much St. Francis has lost every year on their investment in the Fitness Center at the RiverPlex. The PPD Year End Financial Statements show millions of dollars lost since 2001. The JSEB hyped One Technology Center and the Gateway building didn't pan out as expected. The Journal put enormous pressure on the City Council of 2001 to invest a minimum of $500,000.00 in the Southside Library. The council did including an $80,000 elevator to nowhere. Now that building is listed by the library board to be abandoned.
The existing PPD zoo lost a million plus over the last 3 years while the new zoo expansion was running short of money to complete the new addition. In case we've forgotten, the project was to come in at $32,000,000.00. When the pledges and cash didn't come in as projected, the PPD borrowed $12.2 from the zoological society. Yet inside sources at the PPD says the park will only complete about $17,000,000.00 of the expansion now. Why is that if the PPD Board and Administration say they have "plenty of money"?
The Playhouse was to open in 2007 (JS), 2/5/04. What happened, this is the middle of 2008? Is the $2 million dollar renovation of the old IDOT building on Knoxville the problem? I don't see anyone working on it. In case you've forgotten, the zoo was to open in 2006 (JS, 2/5/2004), the Playhouse in 2007 with a new zoo and Playhouse entrance near the pavilion' and the PPD headquarters was to move to the renovated old IDOT building by now. What happened to all these projects if the PPD is so financially sound as they claim?
What is happening to the new $120,000,000.00 Museum and Caterpillar Visitors Center that fell short of pledges all the way around? Rest assured with the stock market down around 300 points today and gas over 4 dollars a gallon, groceries reaching record price levels, new bankruptcies being filed or will be filed before 2009, and few new businesses moving in, the financial situation with other minuses of Peoria Public School District #150, plus perhaps some questions as to the whole museum fund raising process was handled, may indicate every one's unwillingness to be taxed more further delaying the project.
What's the news on the expanded Civic Center? Is it attracting the shows and events that it said it would attract? What if the JS hyped projections don't come true? Who will make up the deficit?
Let's look at what else was supposed to have happened. What happened to the softball fields, JS headline 11/07/03 "Park District nears deal for softball fields".
What softball fields? Where are they?
What happened to the promised skateboard park? Surely the PPD can afford a better skate board park than the one hidden behind the unused softball field in Becker Park on the far west side of Peoria.
Now the JSEB revealed on 6/24/08 that the JSEB hyped Peoria NEXT Innovation Center that cost taxpayers, so far, $8,000,000.00 is 40% empty (and that with Caterpillar occupying the third floor). I understand the building is relatively new but the JSEB told us that "if we build it they will come". They wouldn't have reported that news if they weren't taking a shot at Councilman Ryan Spain. Be not dismayed Ryan, at least if the Innovation Center fulfills it's promise the occupants will be paying taxes, we hope, rather than spending our tax dollars like the library will.
And don't count on $28,000,000.00 of library "improvements" to bring ANY NEW residents to the City of Peoria.
I hope all these tax collecting bodies bring more tax dollars and new jobs to Peoria. PROBLEM IS THAT THESE PROJECTS TAKE DOLLARS OUT OF TAXPAYERS POCKETS WHILE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PAYS TAXES. Don't expect the Journal to call too much attention to the failures of "sacred cows" of which the park and library lead the herd.
And the Mayor isn't what you would call their favorite. If you recall, the JSEB highly endorsed the losing incumbent.
They were wrong again.
And if anyone is interested you might look at the PPD 2008 budget to see how much the PPD budgeted for "erosion control". Pretty much $0 yet they profess to own 8,000 acres and are one of, if not the largest, sources of soil being washed into the Illinois River. After all, their are no Golden Awards for the PPD to win by conserving land. And you won't see "park erosion control" in any JS headlines.
It is sad that the PPD claims to use very little taxpayer dollars when they collect over $11,000,000.00 local tax dollars while collecting millions of state and federal tax dollars. No matter where tax dollars come from they are still "taxpayer dollars".