Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jim Stowell and his "Day Late and a Dollar Short Comments"

I don't know why I take my time and energy to comment on Peoria School Board #150 board member "new idea" to trade with the PPD properties adjacent to the PPD; houses and land foolishly purchased by the school board to build a "state of the art" school. Stowell was an ardent supporter. The PPD had 4 members with enough common sense, and a lot of public pressure, to kill the deal. A deal that the PPD and #150 may have secretly agreed to, the "outsiders' commonly known as taxpayers, may never know as the Executive tapes were "accidentally" erased. Now Stowell wants to revive the library location AFTER the Library Board paid a million+ plus for land for the new libaray. Land that few in their right mind would have ever considered for any type of library, unless, by chance, a "dead archival library", and Stowell wants dialogue to perhaps NOW build the new north library at Expo in a PPD/Library/Expo swap. Where was he with this idea was originally broached by Councilman Bill Spears, requested by our mayor for the library board to at least consider Expo as a multi-purpose site, (JS, 5/31/08), thoroughly covered by myself in my blog of 6/11/07, titled "Library Debate" and turned down stone cold by Library President McKenzie "no new library was ever considered at Expo by the library board", also in the JS on 5/31/08?

Where was Mr. Stowell then??

Bill Spears original idea had some merit. I would have added relocate the Lakeview Library to Expo and turn the then empty Lakeview back to the PPD who owns the land and building. One large branch library on the north side would have fit the bill. To my knowledge, and I talked to quite a few people,no one ever approached the Expo Board with any idea except now Tom Tincher, Water Resources Council. More on that later in another blog.

Sources tell me that PPD President Cassidy was cold to Stowell's idea insofar as no one had contacted the PPD Board or the Expo Board.

Interesting that Expo as a more multi-purpose site keeps coming up and no one other than Tom Tincher appears to be talking to Expo board members?????

To say that Peoria Public School Board is in way over there heads is to put it mildly. too bad, as most are well meaning, no pay and in a thankless job under any circumstance. Not a single business person on a approximately $150 million dollar "budget", I think, (read my blog on the recently "discovered" need for more property taxes).

Enough, but it was good to know that stocdkbroker Stowell voted against the library referendum and did not favor the stupid location either. But then, there is no business person on the gullible library board either.

Oh, yes, one wonders why the Dunlap Library fits in any equation. Simple, the underutilized new Dunlap Library is only 5 miles from Expo, so 2 1/2 miles is the furthest anyone with an Alliance Library card would have to drive to access either library. Some people drive 20 miles to work each day.

Sure, the idea has a lot of merit. EXCEPT, where is the cash strapped PPD going to cme up with the money to buy all that property along Prospect and what about the other forgotten homeowners on the "east of Prospect" side streets? PPD buy them out too? Some of them would like to see the PPD try to enforce "imminent domain". Some more unneeded publicity? Hmmm.

And who would run this multi-purpose recreational center at Expo? The PPD? Good grief. And who would ante up the money to buy some part of Expo. Expo is not just going to sell out and walk away. No way.

all this makes for "copy" and how else am I going to make aliving now that we are in a "deep recession". Recession, sure. Wait, suffer and see and depression may seem a more appropriate term.


Diane Vespa said...


Jim Stowell mentioned this idea to me at the time the Menards location was being discussed. I think he had a hard time getting anyone to "hear" him, a common problem with so many strong and dissenting opinions being tossed about. I now kind of wish I had done a blog post to memorialize (his idea) but it was one of those things that fell between the cracks.

I like the idea of the land swap for obvious $$ reasons, and also feel the Expo location is a far better choice for all the reasons Stowell mentioned. "Walkability" to the library should not be underestimated in terms of how Peorians rate their quality of life. See this link:

Merle Widmer said...


I brought all these things up including walk-ability on my 12 blogs on the subject. Big deal that Stowell says former Mayor Maloof is backing his idea before Tim Cassidy and Mayor Ardis even learned about it.
I have copies of the emals.

Diane Vespa said...

Knowing Jim, I doubt that he cares whose idea it was. Its the end result that really matters, to us all!

Merle Widmer said...


It isn't "whose idea it was" it is the way these ideas are hanlded. I talked to a board member at Expo, there are 34 of them ??, and this board member was not aware of any approach by the school. And Cassidy said certinly not by or to the PPD

We still lack a great deal of " tranparency", communication and action by leaders who believe in inclusion and not in just what they think "is best for us" in this community.

That Expo has a lot of valuable land that could be used for many things such as a more centrally located Belwood nursing home. Peoria County has talked to the board about that possibility.

Expo is an independent entity. The movers and shakers should ask Expo if they would consider a community complex including everybodies needs, the foremost, what are Expo's long term needs, and community beneficial growth. Expo land is worth a lot of money and this economy should be looking for and spending money for top priorities only, at least at the present time.

Hanna City Correction Center vacated land (43 acres) offered to the County has potential for many things. Maybe some type of a swap there.

I've found talk is easy in this community. Finding the dollars to do our priority ideas continues to be a problem.

I don't doubt for a minute that Stowell's idea's are sincere.