Thursday, June 07, 2012

Is it worth living in Peoria?

Over the last few years I've been asking myself that question as I'm sure many other Peorians have.  We don't leave for various reasons.

I moved back here after culinary school and a short gig up in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State.  I could have went to many places where I had offers.  However, my dream (turned nightmare) was to own my own restaurant someday and with my following I had developed teaching cooking classes and catering, this was the logical place to call home, once again  Against the advice from a Peoria Heights police officer, I bought a house on the outskirts of the East Bluff.  Great old home;  I'm still in awe of it.

Now, many years later, I have regrets about living in Peoria proper.  I think the city councils over the last decades are idiots and the current members sans one, do not learn from past council's mistakes.  The Civic Center loses money even with continued taxpayer support.  The ball park doesn't make money.  Gateway building is a bust.  Midtown shopping center: bust.  Campustown is half owned by Bradley now: bust.  Loaning money to upstart businesses that collapsed and stuck the taxpayer.  See a trend?  Now we are digging an $80 million dollar hole and a tax increase to support a museum and a hotel:  supposedly our saviors. 

I list this atrocity first because it leads to another:  crime.  The council keeps asking the police chief to make cuts. But we keep spending ourselves into oblivion on projects that lose money.  Money that could allocated to be used to protect or defend against crime and have a strong street presence.  I feel that the police are reactionary instead of proactive.  And it isn't them, it is those who asked for the cuts.

I bring this up because this is the third time in 17 years I've been a victim to it.  My retaining wall was spray painted, my home broken into and irreplaceable things stolen and today, I find my wrought iron fence missing.

I've put far more money into this house than I paid for it.  A rough estimate says another $12,000 and it would be completely done (well, that would include some high end kitchen equipment).  I just dropped another 3K fixing walls and ceilings in two rooms.  However, I'd never, ever get 70% of what I got into it back.  Hell, even the property taxes dropped last year.

And if this isn't enough, we're forced to rent unneeded garbage totes by the same spendthrift gurus at city hall.

But I'm tired of all this crap.  It is almost worth the financial hit to get out.  It is like a job you hate going to but the pay is great.  I love ya Peoria, but the idiots and criminals (and I'm not even going to mention the really bad drivers) make it really tough to live here.