April 2012
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Ante up!

The Journal Star reports that the City is all in now. They’ve mortgaged the house to make their bet, and they believe they’re going to win big!

Just consider all the success they’ve had with gambles like this before. We have the beautiful Cub Foods on Knoxville that has revitalized the East Bluff and drawn patrons from Morton and East Peoria, as promised. We have One Technology Plaza, filled to capacity with high-tech companies employing hundreds and making Peoria the tech capital of the Midwest. And there’s Riverfront Village, just raking in the property taxes to pay for itself. And let’s not forget that sure-fire investment in Firefly Energy, the battery maker that is paying us dividends today.

And where would we be without the Peoria Civic Center? Just look at how it operates in the black every year and has spawned private investment all the way around the block, revitalizing downtown Peoria for generations.

Yes, I have full confidence that the downtown hotel project will be just as successful as the other wonderful developments the City of Peoria has gambled our tax money on in hopes that they would “pay for themselves.” What with the 360,000 people who will be coming to the museum starting this fall, and with all the people who are drawn to our own little Wrigleyville around the downtown ballpark, this should be a cinch to make us an even wealthier City.

We’re going to be rich, I tell you! Rich! Rich! Rich!

35 comments to Ante up!

  • GOPer

    Are you being sarcastic?

  • C.J., you are usually very even handed and….aw, bullshit, you pound on anyone you dislike, and you know it. But brother, this is one of the best pieces you have ever written. Hat’s off, and I wish I would have written it! Nice work!

  • conrad stinnett

    I agree it is a great piece. I just wish there hadn’t been cause for CJ to write it.

  • Martin Palmer

    Super post! What a great track record the city has ,Pay increases all arround!

  • Mama1

    As the years roll by, we tend to forget all these failures, but we shouldn’t. You are a master at what you do.

  • Yep great post. Has anyone checked on that chili-dog place the city bought into lately? I wonder how that’s going? It seems to me that anyone who reads and keeps up with this kind of stuff can’t see a pattern here. If you were a gambler with these results, they would have you in rehab right now. So, either our council is blind or they are criminals.

  • Mama1

    GOPer: Duh…

  • David P. Jordan

    Hey CJ,

    Don’t forget the Rock Island Trail and how that’s already drawn to local attractions millions of annual tourists.

    Oh wait…

  • Hey David I agree! The lower Rock Island trail has all but been ignored. What happened to that money that was in the bank?

  • Vonster

    I’ll say it again…where are the indictments?

  • Tuscarora Ed

    Mentioned first by DPJ – The Kellar rail branch conversion to a hiking/biking path was to, as one local idiot said, help transform Peoria into the San Francisco of the midwest. Self delusion and lunacy reigns supreme with Peoria’s leaders and their avid supporters.

  • teachingrocks

    Don ‘t forget the stellar school system that we have thanks to our dream team from North Carolina. After they see all our cool stuff and hear about 150, most of those visitors are sure to buy a house and stay awhile.

  • checking for details.

    interesting that the county is now looking at financial trouble. and they gave the city $1 million towards the washington street infastructure by the museum and now they are short that and more, so looking to dump two elected offices. Remember the city already robbed the downtown tif of money for some of the project, but still needs another 3.4 million$…..still plenty of $ in that southtown tif after we toss the residents a few bucks from it. Also will need $5 million for the pioneer parkway extension. that’s $8.4 million. so kick out a million the mini projects to make the south side feels it “got something” then raid the rest. In order to do that need to get rid of Gulley’s no vote in next year’s budget…sooooo bring back a discarded map supported by BVA which would put the W. Bluff into the first district which means they will elect one of their own with the voting block and rid of Gulley, keep BVA’s yes vote and it’s business as usual. The black helicopters are looking for a landing strip….my guess the perfect spot will be the new OSF building that swipes every dime from the East Bluff TIF.

  • And one would think with all the upcoming riverfront events this summer then the opening of the museum with 360,000 per year, EVERYONE would be jumping at the chance to open one of the three shuttered restaurants within walking distance of the new museum….guess the successful restauranteurs in the Peoria area know something the city council does not.

  • Peorian

    Oh yes, the East Bluff is the JEWEL of Peoria….what, with all the almost DAILY shootings(unsolved murders), the drug-addled parents dropping off(late) and picking jr. up(early) from school, and the MOBS(not even students from Glen Oak) surrounding fighting children(students from Glen Oak) on the Glen Oak campus. Yes, I would WELCOME any council member to walk the neighborhood after DARK, or even, before dark. How about some security at Glen Oak School? 3:30 is a frightening time for civilized people because of the reign of terror brought upon us by the neanderthals in the neighborhood. Eventually, the only students LEFT to be taught(try to) at Glen Oak will be the ones whose parents either couldn’t get out or didn’t care enough to try to get out. The school name should be changed to Gangsta’s Paradise…..because that is what it is…

  • Dennis in Peoria

    No one has to ‘get rid of Gulley’. He has announced that he is not running for re-election. Here is the link to video, in 2nd part of clip:

    Now unless he has changed his mind….but I haven’t heard.

    My take on the District maps is that Councilwoman Van Auken wants to switch from representing the West Bluff, and represent downtown instead. One of the maps had downtown not in 1st District, but either in 2nd or perhaps the 3rd. (excuse me, need to go take a quick look)

  • Taxedtoomuch

    What about Peoria County thinking its a legitimate tax payer expense to pay for DAYCARE expenses to a private daycare provider. So now not only do I have to house, educate and feed kids of deadbeat parents, I have to pay for their daycare too. Darwin is dead. We are all screwed.

  • checking for details.

    Gulley said last time he wasn’t running and he did. Watch what people do, not what they say. He’s picked up the pace of a few things when normally he let’s them slide or bumbles through them.
    BVA honked off several groups in the W. Bluff, add that to the one’s who don’t support her anyway. then she doesn’t gain any support until you get to her own neighborhood and a couple of the northern ones. What is funny is that she’ thinking she’ll get support from that part of the 4th district. While it may be generally democratic, they have no love her antics. They believe if you poke a cop, you go to jail and certainly want someone sober representing them.

  • checking for details.

    Chef Kevin, at the last council meeting the last citizen to address the council voice some concerns about push carts. What also said was very interesting, that a young man, who had that horrible accident, (George Jacob) had gotten restaurant owners and the civic center people together for the first time ever. The restaurants said that only about 10% of their business came from civic center event and George was trying to get them to work together to get more of that business into the downtown eateries. Then George had his accident and it fell by the wayside. Spain, the civic center liaison appeared to be surpised…(that boy needs to learn to control his facial expressions). He is supposed to working on those type of issues, but apparantly there is no money in it for either him or heartland partnerships, so instead he can only look at the hotel, warehouse district, museum and any other developer with something shiny to look at.

  • checking for details.

    WMBD just aired a story from Bloomington. The city is purchasing recycling toters and selling them to the public for $30.00 for a time period, then it jumps to $60. Either way it is less than $13 a month in Peoria

  • Chef Kevin, yeah, they know something all right. Just like River Station knew something when the City had the brilliant idea of making the parking lot a pay lot, instead of letting the patrons come and go as they pleased. Other reasons, I’m sure, but goes to show you how much the City Council supports local businesses.

  • Miles Axelrod

    On topic yet offtopic I do feel like my garbage bill increase is the hotel subsidy since time wise they coincide closely. That fee increase freed up the general funds of the city for things other than garbage. PDC’s website still states that residents can still buy a toter for $65, and yet the city kind of passed off that huge garbage increase ($15 / month) as we are paying to get you a toter. If that were true I should be getting a new toter every 6 months. It seems many communities around the state are going to toters I suspect for workman’s comp and injury reasons, so the toters were coming one way or another, but the increase and way it was communicated was deceptive by the city.

  • cttsp5

    Miles, I purchased my toter for $65 dollar several years ago as about 10 other people I know. Now we are having to pay rent on the very same toter that we purchased already. This is really rotten. Oh, we can have another toter if we want and that would be the rented one. Heck I don’t even fill one up every two weeks let alone have another one. I just wish I could do something about getting charged to rent what I already purchased. The reason I bought it previously was I figured out that it would be free after I paid it off. Joke on me!

  • checking for details.

    Actually it freed up just enough funds to give to ware house district. Same number, am sure it is just a miracle of coincidences.

  • I drove past the rock island trail the other day and say SEVEN PEOPLE walking on it. Of course, I’ve driven past it a dozen or so times since then and didn’t see a soul.

  • anonymous

    A million here, a million there, pretty soon we’ll be talking real MONEY!EVERETT DIRKSEN!!

  • checking for details.

    Dear east bluffers: It’s official, tonight the council revealed you were totally hosed in the East Bluff TIF. Tonight’s discussion about starting two more TIFs had a statement made by councilman Spain about how these two new TIF’s did have an “driving project” to produce some initial TIF funds before it was implemented. Remember that first meeting when several of you asked about OSF and what their plans were and you were all reassured by city staff and council that there were no plans in the works and the TIF was for your benefit….Everyone knew it was BS and tonight it was confirmed that they were working on it all along. They finally admitted it.

    They also discussed starting a TIF in an area with depressing housing values. They knew that too when starting the East Bluff TIF. So the no earth shattering news that the TIF was for OSF and you were meant to foot the bill. I wish I could say that the laugh is on them. Because of the high crime, etc. your property values dropped therefore your taxes lowered therefore no payments into the TIF, but the general fund will have to make up the difference to OSF which means city wide there will be additional cuts. Remember this when you vote next Spring.

  • Martin Palmer

    Yup hosed.With OSF buying the TIF study and contributing to council elections the voice of residents is weak. Guess I need a contact at OSF to see if they want to buy our house in the hood!

  • soothsayer

    East Bluff Neighborhood Associations were pretty much AWOL while this was going on. Unfortunately, there is a price to be paid for resident apathy. The best thing East Bluff residents can do now is to find and support a new Council candidate and vote Riggenbach out in the next election.

  • checking for details.

    actually they weren’t awol. They were present with many good questions at these meetings. They were lied to.

  • Martin Palmer

    There was so much grease on the East Village TIF…. It was a slam dunk and no amount of input from the residents would have stopped it.From the TIF committe hearings that were a joke, to the study that was slanted from the start This was approved in the back rooms of city hall and OSF corprate and only put to the public cause legaly it must. All mighty OSF machine rules.

  • Karrie E. Alms


    The first meeting for the proposed TIF was announced on the local news the night before the meeting … then residents scrambled to be there. At that meeting … many pertinent and pointed questions were asked with the usual shuffle.

    The meeting was held to satisfy the requirement for holding a meeting … not to get resident input. The presentation was about OSF getting what OSF wanted. The presenters were sharing that OSF was so generous in providing the funds to complete the TIF study. I asked a couple of questions and the answer was finally given that OSF would be repaid for the study cost if the TIF was approved.

    The website for the “PROPOSED” East Village TIF was 100% operational prior to any public input … talk about juicing the system … absolutely. It was a slam dunk from the beginning.

    Although it appears to be packaged to help the residents, after many years in working with Peoria policitians, the package and the package contents are usually two horses of different colors. Then you also need to do research on campaign contributions to elected officials … speaks vaolumes of where their priorities are rooted.

  • soothsayer

    Thanks for the feedback. I may be wrong about NA involvement(or lack thereof). If so, I stand corrected. However, I don’t believe I am wrong about the need to get rid of Riggenbach.

  • Karrie E. Alms

    soothsayer: No worries. Regrettably, many times neighborhoods may not know what is going on behind their backs with their reps. Take the Southtown TIF and there are no neighborhood concerns. You can write that on the paper … I guess … if you do not ask the neighbors. Just another sad shell game being played. Or have a meeting and everything is all decided and then say that you want their input and you do not need … so sad … another way to produce more apathy. Yes, I agree with you 100% that a replacement is needed. Now, just trying to recruit a better candidate who will remain true to their campaign promises once elected … hum …

  • aaron

    anyone notice this buried after more jenky hullaballoo?

    O’Brien Field

    State Rep. David Leitch, R-Peoria, was one among the group to toss out the first pitch at O’Brien Field when it opened May 24, 2002. Now, with the stadium’s 10th anniversary fast approaching, Leitch thinks it’s time to consider financial relief for the ballpark’s investors.

    Leitch said he would like to see some public relief the investors spent on relocating AT&T fiber optic lines, which he believes cost the group more than $1 million. He said the relief would apply to the investment group that is currently paying the debt on the Downtown stadium.

    “They got stuck with expenses in that project I don’t think were legitimately theirs,” Leitch said. “I think the city was expedient in saddling the project with some of those extra costs which I didn’t think was fair to them, and I don’t think is fair now.”

    Leitch said public help could be considered in refinancing the ballpark’s remaining debt. He said that could potentially be an issue to address at the statehouse, but he’s doubtful it could be discussed this session.

    “We could come up with capital money, but it’s too early now to see what options might come available,” Leitch said.

    The Chiefs have been saddled in recent years with losses as the organization struggles with attendance during the recession. (J.S.)

    Illinois is in dire straits and Leitch wants to assist stadium investors who, after negotiations and attorneys and contractual duties assigned to each side, were “unfairly” required to pay for fiber optic lines. A sad tale indeed; ranking somewhere between the tired, the poor and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

    Mr. Leitch should be voted out for the stupidity of making this notion public; does he not know that spending public funds to bail out wealthy investors (and likely campaign contributors) is supposed to be done as furtively as possible? Bury it in some legislation that provides free american flags to orphans, Dave, and feign surprise if ever confronted. Sheesh!