Am I opposed to them? Hardly. I am opposed to building more than this community can afford. I pointed out that we had a perfectly fine expandable museum at Lakeview with the grassy area south of the building capable of being turned into an attractive parking lot. And room to expand the space north of the museum into more museum space. We had an abundance of libraries, especially the lightly used Lincoln Library. The millions spent on the downtown library is sort of a joke or another concession to Caterpillar. Consider that approximately 10 years ago the library board thought of closing that lightly used facility and moving the offices to smaller quarters.
The ballpark? Somewhere around $6-8 million of public dollars (includes $2 million from Republican Governor George Ryan's Illinois fist program) were invested in a growing yearly loss to this investor. And attendance only slightly higher than at a park free Meinen Field.
The zoo? It is still a mystery to me where the full $27 million came from to add the addition. I believe the PPD owes money to some group, possibly the Park Foundation. Time will tell as planned additional parking does not appear to be needed and a newly designed entrance will not bring in new paying visitors.
It appears to go unnoticed that money spent on entertainment means less money so spend with merchants who offer a lasting product. And more restaurants point to the inability of younger people having ever learned to cook thus less money spent on groceries; one major reason the Cub Foods failed leaving a void in the near downtown area for those who do buy more than canned food and liquor.
As for the PRM,I find it doubtful that after people pay to park; free parking at Lakeview, after paying to enter the museum and extra for the CAT Visitor Center, buy souvenirs, etc., pay extra to see the special exhibits, at least 2 new exhibits a year are planned, pay extra to see the IMAX substitute, visit the zoo and shop at Grand Prairie stores, and eat at the restaurants, they will have expendable funds to spend on the new shops planned downtown.
None of these enhancements will pay workers anymore than a living wage as will the new schools, where the most vocal teachers complain about being overworked and underpaid.
What politicians have been promising this community are jobs that pay more than a living wage. Only a few in education and in entertainment/enhancements make that kind of money.
It has been my educated opinion that once all these new tax collecting businesses has been built, where will those in Peoria who want to make more than a living wage migrate to?
Yes, I left out the renovation of the soon to "old" Lakeview Museum to house the new Peoria Park District Headquarters and the soon to be "old" PPD headquarters renovated into the new Children's Playhouse, when the soon (maybe) to be the old BelWood renovated into some other Peoria County expansion and the now tax consuming old Hanna City Incarceration Center, now owned by Peoria County, is converted into some County expansion.....it will all end somewhere and hopefully not where the the City of Peoria now is; approximately $13 million over budget.
And somewhere along the line, CAT will need a new headquarters building and it may not be in a Democrat and bureacrat controlled, tax money sucking, State of Illinois.
What did I leave out. Oh, yes, the millions needed for new sewer renovationa and drinking water lines replacements; privately owned or city owned.