Remember Sprague’s gas station?

By:  Diane Benjamin

Sprague’s is supposedly a Route 66 featured location, in person it is less than impressive.  This building came up during discussions Tuesday night with Town staff about 1 Normal Plaza.  The area residents were less than enthusiastic about the neighborhood attraction, appalled might be a better description.

See this story for how much taxpayers have been forced to toss into this project:  https://blnnews.com/2019/08/21/lets-revisit-the-route-66-gas-station-gift-shop/

Don’t ever forget Teri Ryburn gets to live in the place for $120 a year for 10 years.

Understand:  TAXPAYERS own this building.

If you were traveling Route 66 looking for historic attractions, would you stop at a place with this in the window:

normal sign

22 thoughts on “Remember Sprague’s gas station?

  1. The town gets ZERO, ZIP, NADA from any sales at the gift shop. $120 per YEAR pays for the rent to live on the top floor including the commercial space on the 1st floor for her business. The town even pays for repairs, maintenance, taxes, and utilities. What a sweetheart deal!

    Even Section 8 renters pay more than what Ryburn pays!

    Want your own sweetheart deal in Normal? Become a devoted bud of the Koos, Reece and Co. This formula has worked for many, their list of beneficiaries is exhaustive.

    We deserve the government we elected.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not only that Robert, but Terri was given $5,000 up front to stock her inventory with the crap she has in her store. Even the inventory is government bought and paid for.

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  2. The signs always cracked me up. If you want someone to read them at least make the lettering larger than that of a newspaper or book. Leftist idiocy on full display.

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  3. This situation is what caused me to become passionate about local politics. I absolutely cannot believe this situation took place in my hometown. And Ryburn will tell you she’s a hard core, true leftist. As a taxpayer, and owner of this building, I should get to decide what she puts in the window, and I think a Trump 2020 sign would look great in the front window.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She is also dishonest. In her Route 66 books, it was proven she was lifting information from other books and publications and putting them in her books without citations and credit. I met her once briefly. Came off as a total phoney.

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  4. Teri is a bleeding left wing nut job who is an expert at bilking the government at every level. People forget that before the town of Normal bailed her out she went into heavy debt with federal government historical preservation grants. They were not enough. There’s Connect Transit and then there’s Teri Ryburn. Both are bleeding taxpayers dry.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Give me some more information on Tuesday night’s meeting. What was it and is there video to watch? What specifically are neighborhood residents unhappy about besides the flushing of tax payer money down the toilet and the signs on the window? Does she have a Black Lives Matter sign there too?

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  6. Teri is a Route 66 Ambassador. I’m proud of her efforts. 66 brings in more tourist dollars to towns that take the time and $ to invest than you know. Check out what Pontiac and Atlanta have done with Route 66 tourism. They both have many attractions to entice visitors. Without her station there’s not much for me to recommend about Normal.

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    1. I used to work with some of the people that were involved with this. You are correct there is Route 66 tourism but the numbers and value were always estimated that could never be proven. Most of the the “tourist” were people that were teens in the fifties and sixties and foreigners that were binge watchers of the old Route 66 TV program that came over here thinking the same route still existed. Give me some hardcore numbers that actually prove the “value” to this area and Illinois, not some estimates. The people involved in the “tourism” were always people that had something to gain from it monetarily, like selling trinkets and t-shirts. Teri is a Route 66 ambassador as much as I am a U.N. Ambassador. She’s in it to sell her fake books and live off the taxpayer like she did at ISU. I so sick of the BN/McLean County con games I’ve witnessed for over fifty years. If Route 66 is so valuable to the lifeblood of every community along the route, why aren’t they all flourishing?

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  7. As a actual resident and tax payer in the Town of Normal with full knowledge of the agreement for Terri I 100% support Terri and the Town with this. Terri did major work/restoration to Sprague’s Super Service before the Town came in to help. Terri deserves the agreement and earned it. The gift shop she stocks and runs out of her own pocket with merchandise from LOCAL artist. It is a MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTION!! lots of international visitors come and stop to get pictures and will visit the shop, talk with her (she is a delightful and nice person), see what other wonderful things Bloomington-Normal has to offer and will stay longer and spend more money locally. Terri is a huge advocate for Route 66 and Bloomington-Normal. She has brought in lots of visitors who overnight in the area just for the attraction and has put on a Route 66 Conference twice!

    The sign she has in the window is welcoming and would make people want to enter. It would give people the sense of being safe and accepted without negative judgement. Terri is a wonderful person who worked hard to make Sprague’s Super Service an attraction and doesn’t deserve someone who can not spell her name correctly to post a negative judgmental things about her.

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    1. Lee, give me some hard core data to support your outrageous claims instead of repeating the BS
      Terri is dishing out. I’m with Peabody. I’ve heard it hundreds of times before and I just ain’t buying it. Route 66 tourism, if there is such a thing, is a nice day trip for people in nursing homes. Bloomington / Normal will never be a tourist destination in the Midwest so we need to focus our economic development efforts elsewhere. I’ve been to Pontiac and having been there and seen what they’ve done why the hell would I want to see Terri’s cheap trashy imitation of it. At best it would be a let down if I was heading south on the mother road. At worst, if I was heading north I doubt I’d stop in Pontiac after the let down in Normal.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Lee, you’re wrong. On all accounts. She didn’t “earn” my tax dollars. The sign in the window is not “welcoming.” And Route 66 isn’t a “major tourist attraction” for anyone under the age of 70 – conservatives do not get a “sense of being safe without negative judgement” in her store – and, she’s “welcoming” people who’ve broken the law, into a store I own as a taxpayer.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Lee: Admirable you are defending your friend but I know enough about her too. When someone can’t defend based on facts they resort to becoming spell Nazis. Most people are not okay with TERRI ( there you go ) living basically rent free on the taxpayer time and making whatever money she makes from selling trinkets from a place that is publicly funded. Again, numbers of visitors (mainly the same ones year after year) don’t mean a thing if they aren’t spending that much anyway and just putting their names in visitor books and driving on an old road they probably don’t pay taxes on. The two big Route 66 Conventions were a joke. She never published actual money made after expenses and the governments covered most, if not all the costs. I don’t apologize for anything when calling a fraud a fraud. If Route 66 tourism is such a boon let you, TERRI or the CVB publish actual numbers that are not made up or estimated. You won’t because nothing exists. You’re all in it because its your passionate diversion and that’s fine. Most people around here and elsewhere could care less about putting on a leather jacket and revisiting high school.

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  9. Is it legal to have political signage posted on a government-owned property? Residents in Pontiac & Atlanta preserved most of the original structures from the Rt.66 era. That is why they have a successful tourism economy.

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  10. The whole problem with the entire Normal City government is that their economic development efforts are built around if government builds it people will come and since the taxpayers are footing the bill there’s no reason for it to be successful. What happens when people don’t come as has been the case during a pandemic that was never taken into account? Well, we know the answer. Government then subsidizes it even more than they were before in order to keep it open. This is not just a problem with this tourist trap, it’s the entire problem with all of Uptown. Wake up Normal. Your town is in serious financial trouble and your taxes are going up to pay the insurmountable debt. It was bad before the pandemic and it’s growing worse by the minute. A healthy government would start to immediately stop the gravy train to places like this. But, in Normal, they own it so it can’t be stopped. Who is going to take this off their hands? No one! Not even Terri Ryburn herself. She tried once and failed. So since our town government hasn’t the guts to close stuff like this down the taxpayers continue to be on the hook for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sprague’s is not a destination people make plans to travel to see. Calling Spragues an economic driver is a joke. People do travel Rt 66. They travel through Normal. Normal and most other towns along the mother road are not a destination, the road is the draw. Do you think travelers really want to park in a parking garage in Uptown and check out the new buildings? Or go see what new artwork Koos has purchased on the taxpayers dime? Or stop to drink liquor then get back in the car and drive? Heck no. They may stop at some old historic places and look at unique businesses inside the historic buildings if they were related to Rt 66. The Uptown agenda has destroyed most of these. Spragues sells the same Rt 66 stuff that every other gift shop sells along the entire route. Spragues is not unique. Offer food or something different to entice travelers to stop. Koos and his CVB minions seem oblivious to listening to what the customer wants. Just like their other projects, they force their views instead of listening to what the consumer wants.

    Diane, I am surprised how many of the far left read and post to your site. For all the times they try to discredit you I would have thought they would avoid the stress and would choose not read what you write. I have no interest in reading what WGLT writes anymore because it has become so slanted to the vile opinions of Koos and pro government is always right mentality.

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  12. I live in Atlanta and I can tell you her Terris other partner in crime who in my opinion is also a left wing liberal and total con man is Bill Thomas Who lives in Atlanta. We call him our very own Jim Jones. That said I have to hope that at some point he poisons himself and his useful idiots. Nevertheless, this man has managed to slip thru the clutches of a federal grand Jury supeona after he writes grants for property he doesn’t own and with the grant checks being made out to him when he doesn’t even own the property the taxpayers do.. He also manages to suck money out of the Taxpayers with all of his claims that he brings in so many buses that shop in our 1 or 2 downtown shops and let’s not forget he was running the palms grill as a library board member and eating there for free on the taxpayers dime and then he says he will put his community accomplishments up against anyone. His accomplishments are all taxpayer funded, most have failed and if not somehow he manages to walk off with community assets being transferred to his ownership. Atlanta’s sales tax numbers are not increasing because of his so called busses or anything he has done. It comes from businesses out by the interstate that he had nothing to do with. His latest accomplishment is the con job he did to spend tax dollars by grossly overpaying for a piece of property where he conned the useful idiot city council members to cough up even more money to bring in a bogus truck stop to compete with the other local businesses and In my opinion he lied on that as well. I say all of that to say I totally get the con going on here. It’s people like these two , Ryburn & Thomas and their shenanigans that cause me not to trust anything Route 66! Don’t forget bill’s newest LLC for Route 66 managed to receive a very large federal grant for the 100 year anniversary of Route 66. So hang on it is about to get worse! In my opinion his next con job will be for the two of them to con you out of even more money for trinkets for the 100 year anniversary . Bill just bought a new house but has no job that I’m aware of so we all question where the money came from…….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. When I was collecting signatures in 2018, I stopped by a house in a neighborhood that had a number of those signs. In their experience the signs had been shortened to fit. What the signs Really meant was “No matter where you are from, we are glad you’re our neighbor. Unless you’re from the right. Then we won’t give you the time of day.”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. While bicycling through some of the nicer neighborhoods in northeast Normal, I always get a chuckle out of those “welcome” signs in front yards. Knowing that the owners of those houses, WILL NEVER have an illegal alien or muslim refugee as a real neighbor. Two faced hypocrites…

    Liked by 2 people

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