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Randolph County Herald Tribune - Chester, IL
  • Chester needs to be pro-growth

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  • Dear Editor:
    Have you seen the marquise at Reid’s Best Western Inn?  It reads:
    ‘YTD occupancy rate 51%
    Does Chester need a taxpayer funded hotel?’
    Do we really need the only hotel in town, telling us we don’t need another hotel?  Brad Reid was quick to point out at the July 18 city council meeting he firmly believed in free enterprise but we don’t need another hotel.  Really??!!!  Perhaps Mr. Reid was referring to any business other than another hotel.  Well, evidently it is possible to have it both ways; any business is a fine business as long as it doesn’t affect my business.  Unbelievable, a pathetic argument at best, and an incredible person who chooses to come to a public city council meeting and plead to disallow the opportunity for a business to operate in competition with his.  
    Brad Reid feels that since his hotel did not receive any help during building, then another hotel should not receive any assistance either.  Bob Reid, Brad’s father was offered the use of TIF funds, but chose not to wait 3 or 4 years to build.  We are not receiving any help in constructing our hotel.  We are simply utilizing the benefits that any new business locating in the TIF district has been given since the inception of the district.
    Now, I would like to return to his claim of the current 51% occupancy rate.  Brad stated in his statement, which is on video, that he started the year 2010 between 75% and 78% occupancy and he’s now at 61% occupancy.  Brad made these statements at the July 5 council meeting.  Now, he’s down to 51% without offering any documentation to this affect and we’re supposed to believe this at face value.  Two things come to mind very quickly:  1) People are going out of town to stay somewhere else.  2) If he has lost around 25% of his business, then we definitely need another hotel to retain the people from taking their business out of town.  
    Someone told me a story and I would like to restate it.  He said I could use his name; however, I’ve chosen for him to remain anonymous.  “I’ve got a story for you and you can use my name.  I’m a member of the class of 1955 and we have a luncheon every summer.  Three people came from out of town this year, called Best Western, and were told they were full.  They were given a number of a hotel in Perryville.”  This is not the only story of this nature that I’ve repeatedly been told.  I believe that Best Western’s occupancy rate is much higher than stated.
    On another issue, two aldermen have said, “James, do we really need a new hotel?” Well, that is not the question we should ask.  Can we really afford to deny a business in this economy?  Did we need another Ace Hardware?  As Mike Lochhead said at the July 18 meeting at approximately 11:30pm, after I had left, “Folks this isn’t right.  If James and his group want to bring in a Dobbs Tire and Auto, I can’t speak for Marty Bert or anybody else, but I wouldn’t come and ask protection from the City Council.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The Southern Illinoisan Newspaper wrote a very positive editorial in their Wednesday, September 14 edition.  It was very concise, to the point, and discussed TIF in a way we can all understand.  The signs you see around town were exposed as serious misinformation and our project would never hurt schools but only enhance them.
    Chester needs to be pro-growth, encouraging and assisting any business that wishes to start or grow in town.  In the current economic times nationally and locally, would it not make sense to allow growth in our community?  The given reasons against the new Microtel Hotel in Chester are only logical if they are viewed as being personal and Chester cannot afford to hold personal issues higher than business and growth.
    For further information, I would encourage you to go to our website which is www.newmicrotel.com.
    Microtel Group
    James Best
    Chester
    John Berfeld
    Sparta
    John Pawlowski
    Grafton

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