The historic Peoria Stadium is under discussion by the school and park districts. The question remains, what to do with it? Its wonderful past includes Bradley and local high school football and track events, and even Peoria Red Wings fast pitch softball. Sadly, the grandstand is in total disrepair. Discussions between the city, school district, Notre Dame High School officials and the park district produced no results. Those discussions, originated by former Peoria county board member Bill O’Brien, focused on Notre Dame as a possible buyer of the stadium. Word is Notre Dame balked because of the high price placed on the property by then Superintendent Grenita Lathan.
Local education activist Terry Knapp along with his son Nick, an investment specialist, and local businessman Adam White are putting together a plan to make the Peoria Stadium a sports complex consisting of a track and field area, soccer field, baseball and softball diamonds. Meanwhile, elected officials are engaged in serious conversations concerning the future of the stadium. Funding is the major obstacle along with neighborhood concerns,
Peoria’s county nursing home, known for years as Bel-Wood, but re-branded as Heddington Oaks, is dealing with some serious issues. Residents and/or their families are complaining about the lack of quality care for their loved ones. At the same time, an investigation has uncovered an alleged employee scandal. At least five employees have been charged with falsely reporting their time sheets. That’s not good. Compounding management struggles are vacancies in such key positions as director and assistant director in nursing and finance director. These are important leadership positions not easy to fill.
Methodist Hospital’s school of nursing has a long history of educating women and men to become registered nurses. I remember during my 25 years there when students lived in Helen House on Hamilton. It was demolished and students wound up living in the former Ramada Inn on St. Mark’s Court. Recently, new owners of the hospital, Unity Point Health of Des Moines, Iowa, made news with the opening of its college of nursing at what was once a furniture and appliance store north of the Shoppes at Grand Prairie. Costing an estimated $20 million, the state-of-the-art facility has all of the “bells and whistles” in nursing education plus an adjacent dormitory. Spokespersons for the school extolled the virtues of the facility and its learning environment while many are critical of its location, miles from its sister hospital. As one critic exclaimed, “The school is not only a great distance from Methodist, it’s also away from the medical school, city/county health department, Proctor Hospital and most clinics.”
The decision to locate far north of the downtown medical complex at great expense is puzzling since the Medical Arts building across from its old school, the former Ramada Inn, was available for less than $1 million. Students could continue to live in the hotel and simply walk across the street to classes in a building that could easily be renovated for a fraction of that $20 million they spent to retro fit a furniture store. Students could still walk to the hospital for clinical experiences. Unity Point officials, unfortunately, turned down the opportunity. OSF St. Francis quickly purchased the building and its adjacent parking. Now Methodist has to figure out what to do with the former hotel.
Bradley University has plans to undergo some building changes. University president Gary Roberts held an unusual private meeting for elected officials and others, excluding the media and the public. That was a rather strange decision. Why would Bradley do that? The school needs both the media and the public to support its fund-raising when it kicks off the building campaign. Not good public relations.
Another “Taste of Peoria” has come and gone. Sponsored by PACE, this year’s event left behind some bad tastes. Some complained about the small portions vendors offered, some vendors said the judging was done by the same people again, some remain critical of the location next to the “smelly” river, and some said the event is getting too expensive. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the food?
Months ago we exclusively reported the demise of AM radio in this country and the world. Many AM stations in major markets are suffering from a loss of listeners. And it’s evident in Peoria with the release of the spring Nielson ratings. Eight of the top 10 local stations, according to the ratings, are on the FM dial with 93.3 as No. 1 and WSWT No. 2. The two AM stations are WMBD at a distant fourth place and its associate station, WIRL at ninth.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Our monthly quote comes from Peorian Paul Richards who wrote to the Peoria Journal criticizing the acid-tongue columnist Phil Luciano for his “scurrilous” attack on city council member Beth Akeson. Richards closed his letter as follows: “Mr. Luciano advises Ms. Akeson to stay off Twitter because says he, ‘You can’t offer much context or nuance in 140 characters.’ Nor does he in over 4,000.”