According to Monday’s “Word on the Street” column, State Rep. David Leitch wants to “consider financial relief” for investors in the downtown ballpark. In case you don’t remember, the City of Peoria contributed a little over $3.5 million towards this project (mostly in land acquisition), plus a TIF district.
“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,” according to the article. “They [ballpark investors] got stuck with expenses in that project I don’t think were legitimately theirs,” Leitch said.
But wait! According to a December 5, 2001, Journal Star article by Jennifer Davis, “the city has spent $700,000 more than it expected – $1.7 million instead of the $1 million estimated – to move underground Ameritech fiber-optic lines in the stadium’s way.”
So, does Rep. Leitch not know this? Or does he want the taxpayers to pay for this expense twice now?
I can find no record of ballpark investors paying the City back for that $1.7 million. But let’s suppose they did, just for the sake of argument. So what? Why would such a scenario be “unfair”? The City paid $2.2 million for Eagle Cleaners to make way for the stadium, and a total of $3,525,175 in direct city assistance. Talk about someone getting stuck with expenses that weren’t legitimately theirs–what about the taxpayers, Rep. Leitch?