The Council voted seven to four to extend an invitation to the LST Board, committing 500-thousand dollars to the project and pledging to assemble the remaining financing if the ship makes the move. That could amount to more than a million dollars.
Assistant City Manager Chris Setti says the council wants the ship to come to Peoria, but obviously cost is an issue:
"All 11 of them actually think it's a good project. Some debate as to how much the city should be on the hook, not because it's not a worthwhile project or worthy of investment, but just that we have other priorities and other issues in the community."
Setti says he’s calling the LST Board in Evansville to extend the offer. He says after that, city staff will go to the community to identify the balance of the money that would construct the dock, ticket booth and visitors center.
If the historic ship makes the move from Evansville to a festival Parkside location in Peoria, it will arrive by fall and be docked for five years with an option to remain ten.
In other city business, Westlake Shopping Center customers will find themselves paying slightly more in sales tax thanks to a special service area also approved by the Peoria City Council. It will mean about seven cents more for a ten dollar purchase and be on par with the sales taxes in East Peoria’s Downtown. The additional revenue will be used to pay for parking lot improvements at the newly renovated WestLake shopping center.
The Peoria City Council also deferred three matters of significance until the July 8th meeting. The proposal to change the management of the downtown Pere Marquette and Courtyard Marriott to First Hospitality Group was deferred. But a special meeting could be called sooner upon the concurrence of the other financial lenders.
The Peoria Housing Authority's zoning request to redevelop the historic Greeley School property was also deferred pending council's request for a meeting with a HUD representative.
The proposed special services areas that will create the Louisville Slugger Sports and Hotel Complex were also deferred.