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Wheaton Grand Theatre Public Funding Advisory Question (April 2011)

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A Wheaton Grand Theater Public Funding Advisory Question was on the April 5, 2011 ballot in the city of Wheaton, which is in DuPage County, Illinois.

This measure was defeated

  • YES 3,576 (44.13%)
  • NO 4,528 (55.87%)Defeatedd[1]

This was an advisory question, city officials just wanted to gauge public support for the idea of spending public funds to operate and restore the Wheaton Grand Theatre. Some city council members noted that this was not a fair question, the measure assumed the city had a plan for the building but that was not the case, the city did not even own the building and would have still needed private support to be able to do the things suggested in the measure. Others noted that it was just advisory, nothing was promised in it and it just was looking for what residents felt about the issue.[2] Donations were expected to help with funding, along with tax increment financing money, in order to get to the $3 million goal to run the theater. This tax money had also helped other downtown business developments.[3]

Supporters

Supporters of the theater noted that they were trying to garner support for the measure in order to help with downtown development plans with the theater included. More taxes would not be assessed, money that was already collected would instead be allocated to the refurbishing of the theater. The goal would be to encourage more businesses downtown.[4] It was also noted that without this referendum, regardless of it is advisory, the Theater would have no future.[3]

Opponents

Opponents of the measure noted that there was no plan, no owner of the theater and no one currently promising to invest in the theater so there was no point to the referendum question. Also, some noted that there were still serious questions about if this project was even viable which had not been addressed by those promoting this.[5]

Text of Measure

The question on the ballot:

Shall the City of Wheaton use public funds not to exceed One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00) per year for the restoration and operation of the Wheaton Grand Theatre?[6][7]

References