Saturday, February 4, 2012

"I'm from the government, I'm here to help you."

When the EVGC TIF commission was first formed, Mayor Jim Ardis assured us this was not a plan for Gentrification. Apparently he was either unaware of the plans of the Diocese, or he was just flat out lying.

Definition of GENTRIFICATION: the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents (Miriam Webster)

In this case, the affluent people are OSF St. Francis and the Catholic Diocese. I often questioned the presence of two OSF members on the EVGC TIF commission, when every other entity involved had only one member. Since OSF is controlled by the Diocese, it seemed apparent the hospital/medical complex and the church had something up their sleeves. That sentiment was echoed many times by the Peoria Journal Star.

Once the EVGC TIF was in place, the next step was to remove the teeth of the Historical Preservation act by including the owner of the property in the provisions of the act. Without the owner's permission, no property can be declared to be a historical site unless the owner agrees to that designation. So if I am a large corporate entity and want to buy a block of property where some of the houses are being considered for historical preservation, say the home of Thomas Detweiller, I can do so without fear that some civic group is going to come in and ruin my plans or at least tie me up in a lawsuit.

The article in today's Journal Star shows us the beginning of their plan. Mr. William Ordaz, the president of the Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation, laments “It's heritage resources that are gone.”

I have to disagree, Mr. Ordaz. Its much more than that. Its the beginning of the end for the near North Side and the East Bluff. Slowly but surely they will be swallowed up by the OSF machine for their purposes. Those of us who still own houses and live here will be forced out either by unreasonable tax assessments or simply by attrition, since most of us are in our 60's or above. And isn't it interesting that this was done with the blessing of the City Council, and in particular Mayor Jim Ardis?

Remember the three greatest lies in the world? One of them is:

“I'm from the government, I'm here to help you.”

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