Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Peoria Riverfront Museum Mailer

This is the email I sent to Superintendent Hinton today. I have great concern that if the Museum funding project appears on a referendum this spring, the community will not have all the financial facts on yearly operating costs and revenues. Nor will the voter know what will happen if the operating costs are not covered by revenues. The year old operating budget I have states that $30 some thousand would be set aside yearly for fund raising.

If 10% of students were charged only, say $2, and 35 thousand students visited yearly, revenues for these 10 percent would only yield $70,000 toward a year old projection of $4.1 yearly operating costs.

Ken, You once told me that if the newly expanded zoo charged more than $2 per kid for a District #150 school visit that the district would not be able to afford busing your students in due to financials considerations.. I read your testimonial in the Peoria Riverfront Museum mailer today. My question is again, that if the museum is built, how much would you be willing to pay per student per visit?

How many District #150 kids attended Lakeview last academic year and what was the charge per student? If, as you state, 35,000 students in Peoria County are potential visitors; that would make up almost 10% of the total visitors (360,000) per year projected), so it is imperative that I as a county board member get a fair appraisal of the museum's projected operating budget.

I will appreciate your reply.



Merle Widmer said...

Since many counties other than schools in Peoria County will be sending students at a reduced fee, these visits will have an impact on revenues collected from the projected 360,000 visitors per year. Example: At 4$ per student times say, 40,000 student visits per year is only $160,000. While souveniers, etc., will generate more revenue, some would take a dim view of poverty level kids spending money during the school day on amenities. (I have not come across any study showing improved school grades by museum visits).

Also, the museum committe spokesperson advised the county board that construction costs have risen over 15% and will continue to rise if a decision is not made soon.

The property or sales taxes will be imposed on Peoria County taxpayers, these taxpayers should ask for more information not the least of what the charges will be to take in all or any part of the museum and IMAX theatre.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Widmer, almost every time you post something in regard to this project, there are numbers misquoted. In this particular post you state that the Museum is claiming 360,000 visitors per year. That is not correct. I know it's difficult to follow all their numbers, but the museum planners have been very straightforward in attempting to explain these numbers. They've explained that their attendance projection includes three visitor segments as follows:
120,000 will visit only the Museum during their visit to Museum Sq.
120,000 will visit only the CAT Visitor Center during thir visit to Museum Sq.
120,000 will visit both the Museum and the CAT site during their visit to Museu Sq.
This results in a total of 360,000 visitors to Museum Sq, but only 240,000 to the Museum as well as 240,000 to the CAT site.

Merle Widmer said...

Iv'e posted the 360,000 breakout in previous blogs. That less than this number are ANTICPATED to visit the museum puts a dimmer view on revenues projected. And with Superintendent Hinton refuswing to say how much #150 would pay per student bused to the riverfront disturbs me as this figure greatly determines museum revenue.

Don't count on taxpayers picking up the tab for these bus loads of kids viewing IMAX.