Friday, April 03, 2009

Just the facts, ma'am

More on this "Block" thing...

Ya know, in normal circumstances, I'd be all for a new museum. Let's face it...the tax, which will amount to about 17 bucks a year, wouldn't pay for three weeks of Starbucks for me. It's not just about the amount of the taxes.

The tax is supposed to have a life-span of just 20 years. Now, c'mon...when's the last time ya saw a tax just...go away? 20 years? Nope. It'll be with us ad infinitum. Look at the Civic Center.

I think the stats that the Build the Block group came up with are just waaay over-inflated, too.

Fr'instance...the project will supposedly create 250-300 jobs for 25 months. Is there a guarantee that they'll use a local construction company? Don't think so. Haven't heard that promise.

So we'll get some construction company from Outer Bumfuck. They might buy lunch once in a while. They might drop a couple hundred at Big Al's. They might even stay in a motel for the duration. Big. Deal. They'll spend most of their wages wherever they live. They'll send money home to Mama. They'll pay taxes...wherever they live. They'll buy a new truck...wherever they live.

I can't see that doin much for this this area...where the unemployment rate just shot up to 9.something percent...where Caterpillar and other businesses are laying off people right and left.

They're "guesstimating" the annual attendance will be 360,000. I think that's waaay say the least.

And finally, it's my understanding that it won't be open on weekends...and that it certainly won't be free. If I remember correctly, they thought the admission would probably be set at $15. I know that I just read that the "Caterpillar Experience" part of the museum alone, would cost $15 for non-employees.
Not that I'd go see the Caterpillar Experience for free, mind you.

Oh, and by the way...parking won't be free, either.

I know you can't compare Peoria to...oh...let's say Chicago. But for this particular little exercise, I'm going to do just that.

Population of Peoria (2006) - 113,107
Population of Chicago (2000) - 2,896,016

Now, let's see what Chicago has to offer in the way of museum-type attractions...and the stats to accompany just a few of those attractions.

Field Museum - Annual attendance: 1,337,502 - Hours: Open 7 days a week. - Admission: Adults - $15 Kids - $10

Museum of Science and Industry - Annual attendance: 1,807,552 - Hours: Open 7 days a week. - Admission: Adults - $13 Kids - $9

Adler Planetarium - Annual attendance: 394,521 - Hours: Open 7 days a week - Admission: Adults - $10 Kids - $6

Art Institute of Chicago - Annual attendance: 1,388,000 - Hours: Open 7 days a week - Admission: Adults $12 Kids - $7

Children's Museum - Annual attendance: 771,133 - Hours: Open 7 days a week - Admission: $10 for all

They're estimating that the annual attendance of this boondoggle will be about the same as the friggin Adler Planetarium, fer chrissake!

Now. Given all the information I have, let me see...

If this travesty should be shoved down my throat, I could drive for 30 minutes...and pay 15 see exhibits like "The River Experience" (no thanks...I've lived the river experience...up close and personal) or the "IHSA Peak Performance Center" (I'm not a basketball fan) or "The Street" (hey...I see the street every day)...but I couldn't do it on a weekend.

Or, I could drive for 2 and a half hours...with that same 15 bucks...on any weekend...and see the wonder that is the Museum of Science and Industry. Or the Field. Or Adler Planetarium. Or the Art Institute.

Um...oh, gee. Decisions, decisions.

It's the wrong time. It's the wrong plan.

Good lord, people...Peoria County's tax dollars ought to be spent on things far more important than a museum. Like decent schools. Like decent roads and streets. Like sidewalks. Like more police officers and firefighters.



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