April 9, 2009 News release to the Museum Committee from Caterpillar. (Note this news release is dated TWO DAYS AFTER THE REFERENDUM PASSED BY A MARGIN OF FOUR HUNDRED VOTES OUT Approximately THIRTY THOUSAND CAST or less than 24% of the registered voters). An actual victory for the no voters who were outspent $640,000 to $3,000.
"Build the Block: Peoria Riverfront Museum and Caterpillar Visitor Center Leading Talking Points (Peoria Area)
Caterpillar is pleased about the vote to move forward with Build the Block. We made a commitment in 2002 to support a new regional museum and we will stay true to this commitment. Caterpillar funding of the project will be in the near future, but will not occur in 2009.
The budgeted cost of the Visitors Center is $41 million. Planning for this project will be MODIFIED to reflect our current financial circumstances.
The Caterpillar Foundation has pledged $13.5 million to the museum. WE HAVE MADE THE DECISION TO TEMPORARILY SUSPEND OUTRIGHT CASH PAYMENTS, HOWEVER, THE FOUNDATION WILL CONTINUE TO MATCH PAYMENTS TO THE MUSEUM PROJECT FROM EMPLOYEES AND RETIREES."
The letter continues on, "The Visitor Center will benefit Caterpillar in many ways, etc.".
I write this blog in response to a comment on my site of why my interest in Caterpillar. What REGIONAL museum are they talking about? Why TWO DAYS AFTER the election? Why is the museum still short up to $17 million, possibly more in funding the project not even counting the $72 million (includes interest) that the "facility tax" referendum has the potential to take out of the buyers pockets.
Good question but with Cat stock up, many of us will be expecting this musuem deficit will be made up from the private center as originally planned and not the public sector where right now more than more 50% is coming from.
Now you know PART OF "the rest of the story". Stay tuned.
P.S. Perhaps someone would like to refute this blog. Be my guest and good luck.