August 2013
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Chronicle predictions of 2009 come true in 2013

The Journal Star reports:

Attendance was lower and the red ink was deeper than expected during the Peoria Riverfront Museum’s first year. …Board leaders pointed to a growing realization that the original White Oaks consultant study done prior to construction of the museum didn’t offer realistic projections.

It wasn’t lower and deeper than expected by this publication. The Peoria Chronicle analyzed museum attendance projections back in January 2009 and concluded they were wildly optimistic. This site predicted the actual attendance figures would be at least 22% lower than the numbers touted by museum officials. In a report given to the Peoria County Board, museum officials disclosed that attendance is actually 24.3% below projections.

The non-IMAX theater attendance is 45.8% below expectations. That’s significant because much of the hoped-for profitability of the museum was tied to projected revenues from the theater. When museum officials decided to go with a generic “Giant Screen Theater” instead of a promised IMAX-brand theater, this publication also predicted that that decision would result in lower theater attendance and be a bigger blow to museum revenues than lower attendance to the exhibits. Indeed, overall earned revenue is 46.8% below expectations.

Well, the good news for museum folks is that no one will be held accountable for these gross miscalculations, and the county will continue to receive your tax money to pay off the bonds used to build this white (gray?) elephant.

68 comments to Chronicle predictions of 2009 come true in 2013

  • Sad State

    Merle — how funny that you paint yourself as the genius. Time for you to go back to those strippers who stole from you after you invited them to your home. You prove the saying that you can’t teach judgment & can’t fix stupid.

  • Karrie E. Alms

    Sad State:

    Regardless of what happened at Merle’s home … Merle was spot on about the museum debacle. Please have the courage to come out from behind your pseudonym while casting your stones.

  • merle widmer

    To sad Stae – I’m sure you are dull and lead a dull life. Also, the JS printed half truths. Strange that you seem to believe everything their sensation seeker write. Why do you think they blocked me off their comment site? C.J. didn’t.

  • Mary Jo Widmer-Greytak

    My dad has lived his life with an intensity that is rare. He has made mistakes and stood up to the consequences. He has put in countless hours working to help Peoria avoid costly spending in spite of constant pushing by those profiting by the malls, museums,ball parks,highways etc. leaving taxpayers endless debt.He cared about Peoria and he has not benefited financially or in any other way. I am disgusted by the mean spirited reporting and all the years of misrepresenting my father by pundits,power players and pols always ready to talk trash for personal reasons.

  • merle widmer

    Thanks, Mary Jo, I love you. And David Jordan; you are so right. Randall does a lot of talking.

  • Randall

    Hey Merle, don’t be pointing a bony finger at me. I have never been caught with a hooker nor robbed by one. You?

  • Randall

    In fact Merle, if anyone yaks, it’s you. I have read the dribble on your blog and you are the most hateful person when it comes to our President. Is it the color?

  • Dave

    Peoria bloggers are always fighting a battle that’s already over. The museum is a fact. It is here to stay. Get over it. The question that we should be discussing is how to make it more “profitable” i.e. carry more of its own weight. Attendance is low? O.K. How about everyone who has posted a negative comment actually plunk down a few bucks and go see the place. I have. It’s not a bad little place. Its no St. Louis Science Center or Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, but it never was intended to be that. It’s a nice place to spend an afternoon. I just took in the Ansel Adams exhibit and it was a pleasant experience. Couple of months ago we went to a show there where local grade school kids built bridges out of paper towel rollers and they had a contest to see which one would hold the most weight. It was a hoot! The movie theater?? It looks like they have had some headlining commercial movies and their not getting the attendance. I am curious since the only other “IMAX” is town is some stripped down version out at RAVB, I mean Carmack. Looks like a marketing problem. As for low attendance – didn’t they open the place in the middle of the winter? I think the whole downtown/riverfront is a work in progress.

  • merle widmer

    Randall, by color do you mean like a Gleeman? Always changing colors and stories? Or like a rodeo clown with no intention of my insulting the rodeo clowns? Seems like I have somewhere in my files, you made an effort to run for apublic position – was it the City Coucil? I seem to remeber your meaagher vote tally. What did you attribute to your very poor showing? And are you jealous of me? Did you ever develop an $11 million dollars business like I did, a business that still bears my name, 50 years later? Hmmmm.

    And Dave, do you mean like the Gateway Center, Cub Foods, the Riverplex still keeeping the park financially struggling and Save-a-Lot once down on South Adams, all supported with taxpayer dollars and all failures. Just to name a few white elephants now and more to come? The Roman Empire was a grand design and wasn’t developed in just a few years, but it eventually fell. Remember Hitler?

    Do you know why they eventually failed?? Or don’t you read history like the history of benchmark rural museums?

  • Randall

    You’re wonderful Merle! In your own mind.

  • Randall

    Oh and the poor showing? Yes 30 whole votes. I attributed it to telling the truth. I thought people wanted a hand up but instead I found that people had their hands out….wanting their cut. I told Mrs. Ricca her neighborhood, after being ignored by the city for over 30 years was a shitbox and no matter how many TIFs the city made, it will always be a shitbox and no one is going to buy those abandon homes on Blaine and Greenlawn and reverb them and move in. That is what I did and when I met with a private meeting with Sandberg last February, he enlighten me on how city things were really done. So yes I lost, but I tried. You on the other hand are a racist old man who can’t stand the fact that this country elected a black President with a Muslim sounding name and despite how the Republicans trashed this country and Dubbya tripled the national debt with an unjust war, the President has slowly, without any GOP help, brought this country back. Otherwise sir, if it did actually collapse in 2007, you might be very well sucking your dinner through a straw at a poor folks facility in southern Florida.

  • merle widmer

    Randall Emert, sorry to disappoint your feeble mind but I wasn’t caught with a hooker and of course, I’ve seen you and no hooker would ever “hook” up with you unless she (or he) was desperate. You sound very jealous of me. I highly suspect you never had good sex in your entire life. You sound like a very bitter man who missed out on a lot in life.

    Do you insult all the women at Big Al’s or any caberet as hookers? You didn’t appear before the City Council to protest the $11 million the Council agreed to give this Club along with a continuation of their new location as a LEGITIMATE business.

    Why not? You sound like such a Puritan???

    Tell the readers again (like they don’t already know) why you only drew 30 votes in the City Council election. You have NO way of knowing whether even your wife voted for you. I’d take odds that if she did, she was only sorry for you.

  • Calling a timeout

    Merle and Randall. You both should be ashamed by your comments here. Not a great example to set for others in the community. Why don’t you two find a mediator and talk this out like gentlemen over a beer!

  • pat

    With all the crime, it won’t be long until the council calls for a charrette on the Main/Univ roundabout.

  • I wonder what the West Moss Neighborhood Association thinks about this…


  • pdw

    I didn’t think I could be more disappointed in the Mayor and councilmen Spain and Riggenbach. All three minimized the crime that has been happening. The tv stories have focused only on 4 incidents, yet just before these 4 shootings, there were several more in the weeks proceeding Additionally the armed robbery (ies) this week, shooting up of homes and so on. I wish our young councilman and the mayor would sit down on camera at tell the children who undoubtedly saw their family murdered how it is just an atypical week and that “if you’re not into gangs and drugs’ then you’ll likely be safe.

    Lord forbid the public rise up and force these so called representatives to spend the money on public safety and interfere with their promises to developers of our tax dollars.

  • Randall

    “Calling a timeout”: You should be giving advice? While posting anonymously? Why don’t you post with a real name and we’ll have that beer and discuss my posts. I can’t have sit down beer with Merle. I refuse to go to Elliot’s.

  • I flew economy class to Hong Kong for Christmas vacation, which is a 14 hour flight. When I got back from my trip I decided to watch “The Hobbit” not only in 3D, but on a large screen, so I choose to finally go to the Riverfront Museum. It seemed to be a mom-and-pop operation with regards to ticket sales and concessions. However, I do like that I did not have to wait in any lines and on-street parking was free at night (what you’d expect from any other theater in the area). The ticket price was around $14 since it was both a large screen and 3D. However, I didn’t opt for the later showing which also including high frame rates.

    Well, I was very uncomfortable as the seats are a step-up from metal folding chairs. Mind you, I am perfectly capable of sitting for a 3 hour movie — I’ve flown to Hong Kong several times and its 14 hours each way. However, I do not like the seating at the Riverfront Museum and will stick with going to Willow Knolls, Rave, or some other place in the future.

    The city of Lisle (next to Naperville) in the Chicago suburbs has an IMAX theater with the same pricing, but has far better seating, and the concessions and ticket sales are more mainstream. So, I gave it a shot, but don’t care for this theater due to its poor choice of seating material.