Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Children's Playhouse - An Unfilled Dream

More missed projections in Peoria. This one badly and this "miss" cannot be blamed on the recession. Read on.

On 10/08/04, Jennifer Rigg, of the JS wrote, "Peoria PlayHouse plans unveiled". The PlayHouse will be located in the building (Pavilion) that now houses the Peoria Park District. The interactive children's museum is scheduled to open in 2007."

Three and one half years ago, November 29, 2007, Scott Hillyard of the JS wrote, "Children's museum funding drags". Scott wrote, "after nearly 4 years of asking for donations - no one is willing to speculate when the museum will open, about $2 million has been raised to date."

Terry Bibo, Js Columnist wrote, "Children's Museum fundraising is on track with about $2 million raised. On March 1, 2010, Catherine Schaidle of the JS wrote "Junior League keeps pushing toward Peoria Playhouse, $5.25 million project announced 6 years ago is still just a dream."

Well, I could hazard an opening guess. This is now March, 2010 and only about $2 and one half million has been raised. The PPD planned move to the partly refurbished old IDOT on Knovxille appears to be on hold unless our local politicians decide to grant the park districts request for $2.1 million to complete the job instead of using that money to pay their $4 billion dollars in overdue bills.

When Peoria makes their pitch for Google, I remind them that "will it play in Peoria" is possibly another dream. Not one project partially funded by taxpayers dollars has been an outstanding success in Peoria in the past decade. If I'm wrong, send me a recent financial statement of the organization along with its success in accomplishing what it promised in the very beginning.

Peoria Next? Time will tell. Maybe Caterpillar will announce it is building new plants in Peoria that will need at least 5000 new employees. Or FireFly and Globe Energy will hire the hundreds of new employees they "projected".

Oh, yes, my guess for the opening date for the PlayHouse? 2017 as it is "projected" to take 3 years to remodel the pavilion AFTER the PPD relocates.



PeoriaIllinoisan said...

Merle, if you want to rag on an all volunteer organization trying to raise funds for a Children's Museum, that's your business, but it is not "projected" to take 3 years to build. It is "projected" to take one year to build, and only after ALL of the funding has been raised.

Merle Widmer said...

Just the truth and it is "my business" as this my site and I only print what I have good reason to believe they are facts. If found wrong, I correct them.

Peoria Journal Star journalist, Carrie Kepple, wrote on 2/5/04, "The Glen Oak Pavilion will become the new Peoria PlayHouse that is scheduled to open in 2007. Renovation of the Glen Oak Pavilion will cost $5 million and take 3 years to renovate." Under this statement is David Zalaznik, also of the Journal Star.

It may be an all volunteer organization, I note the main organizer lives in Woodford County,
therefore not paying property taxes in Peoria County on her residence and Ameren/Cilco, who keeps raising or trying to raise their rates pledged $500,000 to the PlayHouse when they could rebate to their customers.

As to museums, this community can't even fund ther PRM after all these years and that is being built mainly for the children.

If yiu want to call facts, rag on's, sobeit.

PeoriaIllinoisan said...

In that case, it's Carrie Kepple has her facts wrong.

Karrie E. Alms said...

The fundraising is not on 'track.' Nevertheless, I give this group a big high five for keeping their word not to start until ALL the funds are in hand! :)

Mazr said...

"The fundraising is not on 'track.' Nevertheless, I give this group a big high five for keeping their word not to start until ALL the funds are in hand! :)"

BINGO!!!! What a concept: wait for the funding before starting a project.

I'd be curious to see how the Children's Museum in Bloomington has done financially. I hope the Peoria one is as cool if and when it gets done.

We've donated before to this and probably will again.

merle widmer said...

Actually, all the causes is Peoria, these causes promoted by the "elite" and joined in by others, are right or appear to be "right". But where is money to complete the causes?

Don Axt wrote on the JS that Peoria is Dreamsville. Don is right but to fulfil dreams Peorians M & S's must be realistic.

Another prominent elected official, quoted and old saying "nothing ventured, nothing gained". A couple of examples, Hitler and Saddam. Another saying by John Henry Cardinal Newman, "Let us take things as we find them: let us not distort them into what they are not. True philosphy deals with facts. We cannot make facts. All our wishing cannot change them. We must use them".


The zoo lacks funds to complete the even the first of over $100 million zoo expansion in the planning stage, the lack of funding for the PRM is legend (except, apparetly to Jim Owens and Doug Oberhelman), the RiverPlex missed their projections by miles, the ball park has never made a profit for this investor,
Cubs failed, Gateway Center is a milestone around the taxpayers neck, thanks to the City, look for other announcements soon on other problem projects in which the taxpayer is deeply involved.

I find at least 7 articles saying the PlayHouse would open in 2007 or 2008 at the latest. So, why hasn't the Peoria Public Park District made it's LONG planned move to the old IDOT complex on Knoxville so the pavilion would be vacated when the funds are raised?? That would show that the PPD is serious about moving and perhaps cause the missing funds to flow in.

Billy Dennis said...

Merle: The thing that separates the Playhouse effort from the downtown museum effort is that the Playhouse fundraiser is being done ethically.

They aren't spending money (public or private) in this until all the money is raised. They started this thing just as the economic downturn was starting, so it's not their fault that they haven't raised as much as quickly as they hoped.

And they aren't coming to the taxpayer for ever increasing commitments (at least not as far as i know).

And their goals are far more modest and less grandiose and not wrapped up with economic development/magic beans like the downtown museum and all the other economic development scams that we taxpayers have endured.

Merle Widmer said...


I applaud their efforts. I publish facts and everything about this blog, my second on the subject, is factual.

While the funds are being raised privately, the Pavilion is owned by the PPD, paid for by taxpayers.

Another good question, of the $2 plus million raised, how much is left after all the soft costs that have been accumulating since 2004. How much is in cash and how much in pledges?

I remind my reader that the Peoria Riverfron Museum collected $13,318,548 million in cash, but as of 12/31/2009, had only $1,801,791 left. $11,516,757 has ALREADY BEEN SPENT.

VERY iNTERESTING when not on shovel of dirt has been lifted.

PeoriaIllinoisan said...

Merle, if you want the facts, why don't you call the two women quoted in the Journal Star article?

Merle Widmer said...

Peoria Illinoisian,

I have my facts and have pinted them. My facts are taken from print in the media. You are the one concerned. You call them, then quit ragging on me for PRINTING THE FACTS.

However you are, like I care. Why don't you contribute the $3+ million missing and start renovating??

PeoriaIllinoisan said...

I have spoken to them many times, but thank you for the suggestion.

Mahkno said...

What a bizzaro post. Here is an organization, the Junior League, making a privately funded grassroots effort to do something nice, but that has the sense to save up money first before they go spending any of it. You have the park district that for once is refraining from spending any money on a move until the project is a fully funded and ready to go. Then you have Merle slamming both for... being conservative about it all. Wow.

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Merle Widmer said...

Read my blogs but interpret them correctly. The museum, as yet unfunded, was to be largely privately funded. A noble gesture. The PlayHouse was to be privately funded is far from being funded. A noble effort. The zoo funded by taxes and fees is still a minimum of $5 million short. The RiverPlex is a millstone around the PPD's neck and a serious competitor of the private sector.

My blogs print the facts. Just complete the funding of the Playhouse, finish funding the museum, fund the PPD so they can build the ballparks they have been promising since 2003, fund ALL the downtown hotels, not just one, fund new manufacturing facilities, fund startups, be happy to fund $93million for #150. Please, Peoria FINISH something.

All of you who find fault with my FACTS, just come up with the money to finish something before you continualy asking the community for more money. They evidently don't show your enthusiam or the would have, by now, come up with the money.

Peorians have a difficult time in determing priorities because our homes and schools are turning out "me first" generations at an increasingly rapid rate.

Some of you believe the PlayHouse is a high priority, so fund it. I'm sure the PPD would accomodate the remodeling of the Pavilion while they ask for taxpayer stimulus money to remodel their proposed new headquarters at the IDOT building before they later move into their newer headquarters at the "almost" empty Lakeveiw Museum.

Please come up with facts in your comments. Personal attacks will be deleted.

Merle Widmer said...


You, as usual are wrong. I read your comments on the Peoria Chronicle. The PPD has already poured hundreds of thousand of dollars into the old IDOT building including an expensive new roof that cost $287,000 and have asked Schock for $1.4 million in earmarks for the same building.

See Schock's 2009 Appropriations Requests which includes $1.2 million to buy back the housing on Prospect the taxpayer has already paid for once.