Thursday, February 05, 2009

Peoria Riverfront Museum Musings

No museum promoter seems to be talking much about the museum underground parking lot. Maybe here's why; I received a letter from Mark Johnson on 6/16/05 and I quote from this letter, "$4 million from the federal government that Representative LaHood has already obtained for infrastructure (primarily parking) improvements on the (museum) block". In this letter, Johnson said, "For the members of the County Board (Peoria), explaining their support for this financial investment comes down to trust. If they step forward and make a 6M commitment to the museum project, do they trust the federal and state elected representatives to be able to deliver a similar commitment?"

What did the museum group get from the fed and state? I don't know exactly but including the $4 million for the garage from the Feds, it appears to be well over $10 million. On 6/24/06, the Js said the museum had collected $5 million in state, federal and local funds. That figure is of course wrong as the City of Peoria says their contributions to date, including Water Street restructuring is over $14 million.

On 1/28/06 the Js reported that the planned underground garage would cost an additional $2.5 to 3 million more and this week I learned from a museum committee person that the garage alone would cost over $9 million due to additional support needed for the museum sitting on top of this underground parking garage and, I believe, 80 addtional parking spacess, 210 from 130.

On January 23, 2009, the JS reported that the City of Peoria was seeking $4 million for Riverfront Museum parking in the Peoria MSA stimulus request package.

Well, the Peoria County unanimously voted to set $100,000 a year for six years. This money was not to be given to the Museum until they had brought other governmental bodies aboard. At that time we thought it was going to be a Regional Museum.

On 11/20/2007, Jim Richerson was quoted in the JS, "We should be speaking to everyone we can, including Woodford and Tazewell counties in order to move this forward we need to be smart and think about what those solutions are and to work with everyone who is willing to work with us to find those solutions." I personally called the Board Chairman of Tazewell County and the Mayor of Metamora and both said their elected officials had not been contacted for contributions.

So much for trust.

4 comments:

d said...

The museum will help prolong our current "severe recession"! Herbert Hoover raised taxes. None of FDR's government programs turned around the economy during the Great Depression. (FDR's New Deal started in 1933. Six years later the US was still in Depression.)

Merle Widmer said...

Thanks, you are one of a decreasing number, especially those in Congress, who read history.

Appreciate your comments.

Anonymous said...

FDR programs and spending did turn around the economy, just look at the unemployment numbers. The economy slip back in 1937 because the conservatives including the Supreme Court forced FDR to cut back on spending. As for reading history I would recommend actually reading it and not just listening to talking heads on TV and assuming they have read history.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Merle
I went to a presentation by Mr Richerson about the block. The numbers are highly inflated and are not in any way realistic.
I think if Mr Richerson will withhold his salary until the final numbers are in and if 60% of his predictions are in the neutral or favorable category we should pay him twice his salary for pulling off one of the greatest projects in Peoria's history. If his projections for revenue and costs are less than 40% correct he should get nothing.
I also asked what his plan is for managing failure of the project or significant shortfalls in the project. He had nothing to say but diverted the conversation to another topic. He is a hard man to commit to anything but his rosy numbers.
I know that the way he has handled this so far shows he might not be capable of handling such a large project and new management for the completed museum will definitely be in place once the funding is commplete and he will be gone.