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.
JOLIET – The city council Tuesday gave conditional approval to $500,000 for the Rialto Square Theatre in 2017.
The conditions were not announced, but the council voted 6-2 to fund the Rialto subject to an intergovernmental agreement yet to be reached.
The city is revising an intergovernmental agreement proposed by the Rialto. City officials would not discuss what is going into the revisions.
But they could involve some changes at the Rialto, one council member said.
Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said at the Tuesday meeting the agreement would be "fair for the theater" and "good for the city of Joliet."
Afterwards, he refused to discuss details of the revised agreement, which has yet to be presented to the Rialto board.
Read entire article: http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/12/20/joliet-council-approves-rialto-money-with-conditions/amee0tj/
The Rialto apparently will not get the city subsidy in 2017, although one city council member said he intends to put the question to a vote next week. Without the money, it’s not clear how the theater will sustain itself next year.
“We’re investigating our options,” Rialto attorney David Silverman said.
The council at its special meeting last week never voted on an intergovernmental agreement proposed by the Rialto, which outlines city access to financial information while asking for $500,000.
Councilman Pat Mudron, who serves as the council’s liaison to the Rialto and supports funding, said he intends to call for a vote Tuesday on the $500,000 request.
“In my mind, there has to be a vote,” Mudron said. “Then, when it’s on the record, we’ll see how our people vote.”
The City Council will vote Tuesday on a resolution to pursue a change in the state statute that created the Will County Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority, the formal name of the government body that oversees the Rialto.
Walsh noted that the state has provided millions of dollars used in renovations of the Rialto theater and adjacent office space owned by the authority, and may want compensation before giving up its interest in the property.
Reach entire article here: http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/12/16/rialto-square-theatre-drama-has-many-subplots/ayhwn6k/
JOLIET – The Joliet City Council met Wednesday to discuss the future of the Rialto Square Theatre, and it doesn't look good.
There was little support to provide the $500,000 that Rialto officials say they need to pay next year's bills.
Some members said they were willing to weigh the impact of the Rialto closing.
"It's closed already. It really is," Councilwoman Brooke Hernandez Brewer said.
The theater is still open and country star Kacey Musgraves performs Thursday night in what is expected to be a nearly sold-out theater.
Read entire article: http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/12/15/joliet-council-members-resist-rialto-500-000-request/aibxerx/
How many of those petitions will be brought back by the filing deadline at 5 p.m. Dec. 19 is uncertain.
But Rachel Ventura, who was first in line Monday at City Hall, didn't want to wait to find out.
"I don't want to be in the slew of 30 names," said Ventura, a first-time candidate for elected office. "I want to stand out."
Being first in line did not guarantee Ventura the top spot on the ballot. But it does guarantee her a chance in the Dec. 27 lottery for all candidates in line as of 8:01 a.m.
Read More on Herald News: http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/12/12/joliet-race-shows-high-interest-in-april-election/aihrydh/
Joliet City Manager Jim Hock introduced Tuesday night to the City Council a proposal and path for the city to take over the Rialto Square Theatre.
Tuesday night, Hock proposed the city adopt a resolution asking state lawmakers to introduce legislation that transfers ownership of the Rialto and its properties from the Will County Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority, commonly called the Rialto board, to the city.
State Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, whose district includes the Rialto, said Wednesday a local problem calls for a local solution. He said his understanding is the Rialto made the pitch for an intergovernmental agreement in an attempt to answer the city’s concerns about the Rialto's financial transparency.
McGuire said he hopes the city will negotiate with the Rialto and reach an amended intergovernmental agreement to keep the Rialto open.
Read More: http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/12/07/timeline-for-joliets-rialto-takeover-proposal-is-uncertain/a16j613/
JOLIET – One person spoke in defense of the Rialto Square Theatre at the Joliet City Council, saying it seems like the financially struggling theater is ready to turn a corner.
Manhattan resident Tim Shanahan urged city officials at Monday’s pre-council meeting for continued financial support. His comments follows Mayor Bob O’Dekirk saying that money for the Rialto is not in the city’s 2017 budget.
The budget will be voted on Dec. 20.
Read More: http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/12/05/rialto-theater-defended-at-joliet-city-council-meeting/agxb2h8/
JOLIET – The Joliet City Council will hold a public hearing on the 2017 budget on Monday with no money in it for the Rialto Square Theatre.
At least there was no money on Friday.
“It’s not in our budget,” Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said when asked whether Rialto funding was still a possibility.
Asked whether he considered Rialto funding an issue anymore, O’Dekirk repeated, “It’s not in the budget.”
It could still be an issue.
The Rialto has asked for $500,000, which is less than the $600,000 it had received for several years. The theater received $700,000 before that. But clashes between Rialto and city officials this year amid growing financial problems at the theater has led to a possible end to funding.
Read the rest of the article here: http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/12/02/joliet-holds-hearing-monday-on-rialto-less-budget/aw451db/