by: Diane Benjamin
Actually it’s no surprise. The Pantagraph wouldn’t exist without City advertising dollars, so of course they are in lock step. Also, the Pantagraph is desperate to unload their downtown building since the paper isn’t printed locally anymore. Wouldn’t it make a cute hotel?
Today the Pantagraph printed an editorial praising the City for approving $30,000 to research the viability of a downtown hotel. They stressed that a study means absolutely nothing. Think . . . think . . . what other recent study for $10,000,000, that meant absolutely nothing, really ended up meaning something? Does the East-Side bypass ring a bell? McLean County Board member Jim Soeldner (one of my representatives) told me he voted YES because it’s only a study and besides it was Federal money anyway. Thanks Jim.
Since Mayor Renner deeply admires how Mayor Koos buried Normal in debt, he probably knows how Koos got the Marriott built. The Town of Normal bought the Citizens Savings Bank property for $1,000,000. Then the GAVE if to the Marriott. Free, No Cost, nothing. See this post from July of 2012: https://blnnews.com/2012/07/03/who-gave-normal-permission-to-buy-give-away-properties/
Koos saw a town in virtually no debt making it was easy to borrow – borrow – borrow. Council members thought everything was paying for itself with all those pesky fee increases and increased property values – but suddenly they had to raised property taxes 11% to fund pensions. Most people think funding pensions is an operating expense incurred by a city in the normal course of business. Evidently Koos overlooked that in the spending spree fog.
Renner doesn’t have the luxury of borrowing extensively. I do hear frequent comments about the debt they will be paying off soon: code words for borrowed money is in our future!
Get ready Bloomington, a hotel is your future. The BCPA loses money. The Coliseum loses money. How about letting the private sector build a hotel? The City track record stinks.
In case anybody on the City Council cares, public money and hotels aren’t always a hit:
Read this one to the bottom!
Google bankrupt cities with hotels, there are plenty more examples.