PPD will collect $14,492,000.00 in property taxes from Peoria taxpayers for 2008, up from $13,671,337.00 for 2007. Debt service and PBC leases for 2008 are $3,925,000.
Bids for the new softball complex were due on September 4. As of this date, no news of any contract being issued has appeared in print and no ground work has started for the complex off Lake Avenue near Peoria Stadium. Even if work started now, the playing fields would probably not be usable for the 2009 season.
Also, the JS reported that the newly expanded zoo slated to open in 2008, will now open in June 2009.
Question? Is the PPD so "strapped" for money that the softball fields slated to open in 2006 at the corner of Rt. 91 and Fox Road on land "supposedly" traded with Bradley for Meinen Field (now Shea Stadium) that neither location will become a reality in the reasonable future?
If you recall my previous blogs, Bradley took out a mortgage for $2.1 million on 162 acres of farmland as part of their end of the deal giving Bradley title to Meinen Field. The PPD planed to open a "big sports and recreation complex" on this site to host National Softball Tournaments. What happened?
Terry Bibo wrote a detailed article this summer saying how financially strong the PPD was and how they "owned" almost 9,000 acres of park land. Hmmm.
The PPD Headquarters in the Pavilion was to be transferred to the "being renovated or is renovated" old IDOT Building on Knoxville and Northmoor Rd. to make the Pavilion available for the Children Playhouse which was to open in 2006.
You may have noticed the expanded zoo was a $32,000,000.00 project but the JS just reported it will now be a $25,000,000.00 expansion, a shrinkage of $7,000,000.00.
I believe leadership in this community has overstretched. But what is new. I said that a few years back. With Caterpillar stock trading at $37 down from the last insider sale of $74 and with some growing grumbling from Caterpillar employees about their shrinking 401K's and shrinking value of their stock, it's time to pull the plug on the never "really wanted by the community as a whole" downtown museum. Unless, of course, some philanthropist steps forward with dozens of millions to donate.
With Bradley on a big fund raising drive, the zoo struggling to get off the ground, the RiverPlex still bleeding money and the museum short a lot of hoped for taxpayer millions to get underway, the economy in a tailspin, effect now being felt in Peoria, is it possible some of the leadership in this community have over-extended?
Then we have #150 draining money with questionable results, I don't believe we seen anything yet in some type of additional taxation to cover the $120-30 million in planned and new schools underway.
Opps, to borrow a term, I forgot the $100-200 million or more needed for new sewers in Peoria. And a half a dozen other projects out asking for funding.