In September of 2008, Mark Johnson, then representing Caterpillar on building of the downtown Cat Visitors Center in conjunction with the building of the new Peoria Riverfront Museum, was quoted in the JS, 9/17/08, that attendance to the visitors center "must hit 120,000 a year" helping make of the projected combined visits of 360,000 yearly or even 400,000 as one museum commitee chair once stated.
On 4/20/10, in a LTE to the JSEB, Doug Oberhelman, Vice Chairman and CEO Elect of Caterpillar, promoting the building of a Downtown Marriott and the renovation of the Pere Hotel, wrote that, "Each year, Caterpillar brings up to 13,000 customers and other visitors to Peoria to tour Caterpillar World Headquarters and our local facilities."
Doug, I'm sure, has his figures correct. But who is guaranteeing the other 107,000 vistors each year will visit the Cat Visitors Center?? And will all 13,000 who now come each year because of Cat, have time to also visit the Vistors Center while taking in the PRM, working out at the RiverPlex, going to the baseball and basketball games, visiting the zoo, the Civic Center, the....and have time to spend $14 million dollars a year with the local taxpaying merchants in the area?
And now with all the growth in East Peoria; Bass Pro, the proposed Cat museum in E. Peoria, the new convention Center, the proposed new major shopping center, all across the river, does that change the "estimated" 240,000 people who will visit the PRM each year for the next 20-30 years?
I sincerly hope these projections come true but the record of "projections" in Peoria have not been to accurate.
If all these projections would only come true, it is possible that one day the World Series of Baseball could be held right here in the Peoria's as a former Cat newspaper editor once predicted. Tonque in cheek, of course.
That is, if the local taxspending governmental bodies can balance their budgets.