Joliet is exploring opening the famous prison that was featured in movies such as The Blues Brothers, Prison Break, and Empire. Even Al Capone was arrested in the city of Joliet. The city would work with the Joliet Museum to make it a Route 66 attraction.
Here's the presentation (at the 1 hr 33 min mark) given by the Museum to the City Council:
The comparison they made is to Eastern State Penitentiary which was in worst condition than the Joliet prison yet generates over $1.7 Million in profit today.
The idea is to open only a small section of the prison first and then as profits are generated to fix up the rest.
The council and mayor needs to hear that people would be interested in touring this prison. Please help by emailing them here: firstname.lastname@example.org and ROdekirk@jolietcity.org. Then please share this!
Note the images of the prison were found online:
I sent out a mailer to the police to squash some rumors and was ambushed at the council meeting. Here you can read about it in the following articles or watch it online (Starting at 1:04): http://joliet.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1839
Initial article: http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/03/21/joliet-council-candidate-faces-accusations-at-public-meeting/albyyml/
Followup Interview from me and Mr Regis: http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/03/22/joliet-candidate-considers-complaint-over-treatment-at-council-meeting/a25yd3x/
Resident's Letter to the Editor: http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/03/28/bullying-in-full-effect-on-joliet-council/a80ia4c/
Opinion Piece: http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/03/24/our-view-joliet-council-meeting-no-place-for-politicking/anfru85/
Mayor O’Dekirk had discussed re-instating a five-year budget plan that had been discontinued under the previous mayor as part of his transition in to office. Do you see that as a useful tool for the city and if so will you push for a 5-year budget forecast and how will you make sure it’s implemented? Read Answer
The mayor recently announced that Joliet’s water source could run to critically low levels in about 15 years. What should the city do about its long term water source to insure a steady supply? Read Answer
A ballot initiative to redistrict for 8 geographic districts with a dedicated representative from that district was thrown off the ballot in November. Where do you stand on dividing the city in to districts for more localized, geographically-focused representation? Read Answer
What can be done to create more job opportunities for African American workers in Joliet? Read Answer
JOLIET – Cullinan Properties is looking at construction next year and a fall 2019 opening for Rock Run Crossings, a lifestyle development that would combine retail, entertainment, office space, hotels and homes on a site at Interstates 55 and 80.
The city has been trying to develop the site for nearly 10 years because of its high exposure from two cross-country interstates. But there is no interstate access, something that has to be overcome before development.
O'Dekirk said the 265-acre project will have regional reach and be an economic engine, creating 5,000 permanent jobs and 8,000 construction jobs.
"It will have an economic impact of $1.4 billion," O'Dekirk said, adding that developments are now moving quickly. "City council, get ready. It's coming, and it's going to be coming fast."
The plan is to begin construction on Rock Run Crossings in 2018 and begin opening in fall 2019, she said.
East Peoria-based Cullinan acquired the northeast section of the interchange in July 2015. But development always hinged on getting interstate access. Cullinan had not previously publicly announced a development timetable.
Read entire article: http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/02/13/joliet-mayor-says-developments-are-coming-fast-on-project-at-i-55-and-i-80/abvjba3/
JOLIET – Joliet business owner and former school sports standout Jane Condon was named to the Rialto Square Theatre board on Friday.
Condon was appointed to the board by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
She became the sixth appointment since the entire Rialto board resigned Dec. 29. One vacancy remains to be filled.
She is currently a member of the Lewis University Board of Trustees and the Will County Public Buildings Commission. She is a past board member of the Joliet Park District. She has also served as a past chairwoman of the Joliet Catholic Academy Board of Directors and is a past board member with the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Read entire article here: http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/01/20/jane-condon-named-to-joliets-rialto-square-theatre-board/acbsqst/
JOLIET – The new Rialto Square Theatre board should be ready to do business after Mayor Bob O'Dekirk's appointments were confirmed by the city council on Tuesday.
O'Dekirk's four appointees have a mix of business, legal and government experience.
• Jeff Pierson, who is president of the the Joliet Township High School board and works as a financial adviser;
• Donnie Chestnut, a Joliet resident and banker at Providence Bank & Trust's office in Lockport;
• Kathy Trizna, who is co-owner of Chicago Street Bar & Grill in downtown Joliet and organizes Hopstring Fest, a popular summer music festival, with her husband Mike;.
• Joe Carlasare, an attorney who was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Will County Board in November;
They will join Robert Filotto, a Joliet businessman who was named to the board by the governor Jan. 4.
Read entire article: http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/01/17/joliet-mayor-makes-rialto-square-theatre-appointments/a2uhahq/
Joliet City Manager Jim Hock says now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal from the owners of Evergreen Terrace, the city is ready to take ownership however there is still one more roadblock, the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD contracts have to be transferred to the LLC that the city is forming with Holsten Management Group who will be the third party operator of the development when the city takes ownership. The city manager also stated that the court that has been overseeing the lawsuit has been collecting the revenue from Evergreen Terrace and they will be responsible for it’s distribution once the city takes ownership. HUD has a $12.5 million loan on the property and the $15 million currently being held by the court will be spent towards that loan. The remaining money will then be given to the current owners of Evergreen Terrace.
Listen to this report on WJOL: http://www.wjol.com/7601-2/
JOLIET – The entire board of the Rialto Square Theatre resigned Thursday afternoon after approving an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Joliet. The agreement did not include resignations.
Thursday's resignations are the latest twist in a year that has seen the theater's former general manager, Randy Green, depart under a separation agreement after city officials learned of unpaid payroll taxes; the city advance annual funding to keep performers from walking away from scheduled shows; and VenuWorks hired as a third-party manager for the theater.
Read entire story: http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/12/29/rialto-board-resigns-after-approving-intergovernmental-agreement-with-joliet/aouu2wi/
JOLIET – The campaign for Joliet City Council got off to a quick start this week, a possible sign of things to come with 15 candidates vying for three positions in the April election.
The Rialto Square Theatre controversy drew two candidates to make statements at the council meeting Tuesday.
On Thursday, another candidate issued a news release criticizing the expansion of a downtown business tax that the council approved this week.
Candidates Rachel Ventura and Larry Crawford spoke on the Rialto issue at the council meeting, where the theater’s request for $500,000 was up for consideration.
“Joliet needs a public relations face-lift, and we must change our image,” Ventura said as part of a written statement to the council.
An advocate for attracting out-of-town spending to boost Joliet tax revenue, Ventura favored city funding for the Rialto.
Read Entire Article: http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/12/22/joliet-city-council-candidates-getting-fast-start/a3deuji/
Above is the December 20th 2016 City Council Meeting which I spoke at. Below is my statement along with the article I gave the Council Members.
I would like to see Joliet on the road to change. Joliet does need a PR facelift, we must change our image. I'm not the first person to point this out. Last year, the city paid $75,000 for Camiro’s Downtown Study, which centered its vision on a downtown Mecca for young people. And I quote this strategy “aligns with the downtown’s #1 strength; its entertainment and cultural component.”
The question was raised, what happens if the theater goes dark? Considering we have heard in the last week alone, that the theater brought in over 4,000 people. The question we should be asking is what happens to Joliet, if the downtown goes dark? What happens to those businesses that were packed over the weekend? The Rialto must be allowed to promote the downtown area, just as the downtown businesses must crossmarket to promote tourism. The Joliet taxpayer, who has been nickeled and dimed in the last decade, isn't going to be the one to save the city from financial ruin. But tourist can! Bringing in outside money to our city is a must and this council paid for the study and plan telling us how to do it, but has continued down the road to ruin instead.
Joliet’s history of owning businesses has been less than stellar, and includes everything from Bicentennial Park, the Historical Museum, Rich & Creamy, Crabigales, the Slammers Stadium, the Splash Station, Union Station, and last but not least, Evergreen (of which we paid 15 million dollars plus litigation fees and we still don't have possession). How many of these entities have made money for the city? Not to mention the resolution before you proposes to sell off the office spaces, which is the one aspect that is currently profitable.
Our State Rep, Larry Walsh Jr. was here yesterday advising this very Council to consider that Springfield may not be in a position to transfer the property. And even if they are, they may not do so in any timely manner.
On Oct 16th, 1979, the city adopted a 3% Hotel-Motel tax which was to pay for the $1.1 Million dollar bond issued to the Rialto Theater. You have each been given a copy. Although this money is not earmarked for only the Rialto the council manager at the time, Robert Oldland stated, “If the tax revenues are not used for the Rialto, they can still be used for other city improvements”. This allocation to the Rialto is enough to subsidize the theater so that VenueWorks can come in and turn this theater around. Which in turn will allow us to continue down the road to change, as well as follow and expand on the Camiro’s Downtown Study.
Therefore, I am asking that you reject the resolution to purchase the Rialto and not only second Pat Mudron’s motion, but vote in favor for it. I would even go as far as to say, if you are adding conditions, ask VenueWorks to do more than 40 shows. Negotiate what is necessary to be successful and realistic.