Back in about 2005, the JSEB wrote an article (temporarily misplaced) about the PPD (Peoria Park District) struggles to get financing to build the $32 million dollar expanded zoo and that these struggles might be a forewarning of failure of the Museum Group fund raising efforts.
How right they were. No PPD official other than Bonnie ande Tim seem to be sure what is happening with the zoo funding efforts other than this advertisement by "AECOM provided innovative engineering and design services for the initial $19 million expansion of PPD Glen Oak Zoo" published in the 2/09 edition of IB, and the recent letter sent out over Dave Bielfeldt's name appealing for $5 million more to create an entrance and parking lot. $16 million and $5 million add up to $21 million, not $27 or $32 million.
Oh, well so much for figures. Here's more:
On 10/15/04, the JS said Jim Richerson said the museum would have an operating budget of $3.8 million. Now this figure has risen to $4.4 million and the Museum supporters blame this on the fact if they had the money to had build it 5 years ago, the costs wouldn't have risen. Hmmmm. So if it's built by 2010, operating costs would be same $4.4 million, year after year? How about an approximate 3-4% yearly rise in operating costs year after year? Rising utilities, salaries, pension, insurance, to new flooring to new or replacement of most everything. After all 360,000 people a year forever will put a lot of "wear and tear" on any facility.
On 2/06/06, the JS, wrote that the Museum Group needs $3 million more for the parking lot. The original figure was $5.2 million housing 190 vehicles underground (JSEB), 2/06/06.
Now I'm told more money is needed providing more parking? Maybe 210, or did I hear badly? (See my previous blog)
On 12/03, Byron DeHaan, then Chairman of the Museum Collaboration Group, said in the Senior News that his group had learned 6 basic things from their extensive visits to other Benchmark Museums. #1, Adopt a REGIONAL, not a local approach, and by golly, they are trying with a "taxation without representation" referendum requiring EVERYBODY from everywhere to pay $3.2 million in sales taxes per year for 20 years, money that taxpayers could have spent for merchandise, etc. Hmmmmm.
#2. Locate the museum at the center of the region - in short, downtown. But it not a regional museum so the center of the County is Lakeview where were have a sparkling 33,000 sq. ft museum that blends in with its surrounding. Hmmmmm.
#4. Create a strong public-private partnership. Hmmmm. #6 was Maintain an open, continuing stream of communication with the LARGER community. Hmmmmm.
On 5/17/04, "Word on the Street" said rumors keep surfacing that Lakeview doesn't want the Caterpillar Visitors Center to be free because visitors might be 'content' to see it and not pay admission to Lakeview". (Museum Block). All rumors were denied but that a Caterpillar spokesman, Ben Cordani at that time, said "there are any number of plans being explored". Surveys show that the shopping is one of the major if not the major reasons people come to town. Hmmmm.
Now that everybody, almost, realizes the regions like Woodford and Tazewell governmental bodies have pitched in $0 dollars, let's face the reality that this project is not going to come close to drawing 360,000 visitors, 240,000 of them paying visitors to the museum each year for at least 20 years.
As Don Axt, former Caterpillar news writer, wrote in the JS opinion page a long while back, that Peoria should be known as "Dreamsville" with a baseball World Series between Rockford and Peoria.
MaybeI'll be asked to throw out the first pitch. But, then, probably not.