Thursday, October 08, 2009

Peoria Riverfront Museum Update

No Museum construction this year. No Caterpillar Visitors Construction this year. Why not? The private sector hasn't come up with the money they promised the county before the county agreed to put the issue on a referendum. Now officials are saying that no ground on either project will be broken until the middle of 2010.

Missing is the promised $3 million endowment fund; assumed $5 million endowment fund. Short is at least $6 million of the promised $10 million by the CEO Roundtable group. (Promised approximately 2 years ago) Missing is at least $4 million to complete the underground parking deck. Since $556,000 was lost last year on pledges and investment losses were considerable, there is no available knowledge how much private dollars have shrunk since 6/30/08. Those figures from June 30/08 through the end of September, 2009 are available and it incumbent on the three County Board Members who now serve on the museum committee to make that information available to the full board now. I'm sure our administrator has the figures as does our liaison, retired Caterpillar Executive, Mark Johnson.

In July, the JS reported that the museum still lacked $5 million in private and public funds. It lacks considerably more than that amount unless the figures made available by our administrator are incorrect. I suggest my figures are correct and the private sector is waiting for the taxpayer to fund more of the cost that has been apparent for some time.

Brad McMillian stood before the County Board at the time we voted on whether or not to put the question on a referendum and assured the board that the public would only be required to put up %33 of of the $78 million cost of the building. It has appeared for some time that the opposite would be true.

Mark Johnson, Liaison from the County Board to the Museum Committee called the negotiations between the City, County and the museum committee, a "mess". However, it is not only the negotiations that are the main reason for any progress going forward. No it is the lack of promised private funding many of us suspected from the beginning.

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