Thursday, May 29, 2008

Off topic - again!

Sorry to depart from the immigration issue again, but this is one local issue that irks me to no end.

Last night the city fathers of Elgin voted to spend $291,000 to study the need for a new performance hall. Actually, they are going to study the cost of renovation to make the Hemmens auditorium adequate for our current needs.

The $291,000 is going to the same company that studied the matter two years ago, Economic Research Associates.

The news story provides the framework for their study. Just listen to what the mayor is complaining about and then write your report.

Here are said deficiencies:
Lack of restrooms
Poor acoustics
Climate control problems in the lobby
Seating capacity (only 1,200 seats)

By the way, Mayor Schock, you’d better purge the city website of these quotes: “…Harry Belafonte has described as a “jewel” is an acoustical gem with no seat farther from the stage than 87 ft.” and “The Hemmens' acoustically superb 1,200-seat theater has been the platform for dynamite performances by mega-stars such as B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Bob Newhart, Ray Price and Gin Blossoms.”

Two years ago this group suggested that we build a new symphony hall to the tune of $125 MILLION, to which the taxpayers choked.

I’m more than a little put out by the price tag of this study. How could it possibly be worth $291,000? Would we not be better off creating specs and then letting out bids?

The whole thing is an Elgin Symphony Orchestra ruse to get what they want. That 1,200 seat venue is already being scheduled regularly, and would be used more if the ESO didn’t strong arm the city and block other legitimate users.

The city council isn’t fooling anyone by adding this extra (and expensive) step on their road to a new hall.

But Economic Research Associates and the mayor are all smiles as they spend a quarter of a million dollars to justify their position, an expensive price tag to stroke a few egos.

And this issue will most certainly be aired in the upcoming elections.

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