Thursday, October 22, 2009

Landesman Mocks Peoria Again

"Man who once mocked city's arts scene will kick off 'Art Works' tour here", so said the JS today. Landesman, head of the National Endowment for the Arts, is on a 6 month tour starting in Peoria to show how cultural centers act as economic stabilizers in otherwise crumbling communities.

"Crumbling communities?" How dare he put that label on Peoria? We only have a 10% KNOWN unemployment rate and at just one KNOWN government funded company in dire financial straits. Maybe two.

Anyway, Landesman is trying to get more money added to his $155 million dollar budget and assembled at the Civic Center will be our Mayor and City Council and approximately 18 other community leaders on November 6. Maybe Landesman can help the City shore up this year's $14 million dollar deficit.

Speaking of deficits, Peoria County will have it's proposed 2010 budget available tomorrow. Any other public bodies budget available tomorrow? It is interesting that a local TV reporter and cameraman came out recently to interview me on the supposedly sad financial shape Peoria County. I didn't bite on the leading questions asked me and the reporters story landed on the floor of the cutting room.


I certainly enjoy the arts but the private sector in Peoria can't even fund their share of the museum. Other than Caterpillars commitment, I see the taxpayer funding 66% of a project 14,000 voted against where the money spent to get these 14,440 "yes" votes tallied somewhere around $600,000 to $3,000 spent by the "no" voters. (However, the art on the fences surrounding the "hole" do look nice.)

But then didn't the "squashed" survey paid by the Heartland Partnership in March 2003 say that Peoriaians would rather go to a sports event than a museum? Yes, it did, copies available. The highly regarded consultant firm was Gruen Gruen and Associates out of Northbook. In their report they wrote, " The potential ability of the Museum to raise $35 million in private funds signals a strong faith in the future of downtown Peoria."

Private funds must have included Caterpillar. Even if so, where are the other private funds that are holding up the project now with ground breaking postponed till med 2010?


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