By Associated Press - Saturday, September 12, 2020

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - A civic center in central Illinois is seeking about $4 million to keep afloat during the coronavirus pandemic that’s caused the facility to lay off staff and lose money.

The financial woes for the Peoria Civic Center began when the state ordered it shut in March due to the virus outbreak, which led to it absorbing a $250,000 loss and cutting staff from 350 to 16.

“It’s no secret,” Civic Center Authority Board Chairman Matt Bartolo said. “We have a problem.”

The solution comes with a $3.8 million price tag.

“We don’t have it. And we’re going to need it in the next 60 days because we’ll be out of money in October,” Civic Center General Manager Rik Edgar said. “If that happens, the Civic Center will close. Permanently.”

Edgar is slated to lead a group this month that will ask the Peoria City Council for about $4 million, which would cover full pay for staff and other building expenses, the Journal Star reported.

The civic center passed a budget which projected no revenue for the new fiscal year starting next month, Edgar said. He said they’ve gone six months without any events that could bring in money.

“We want to host activities. Our staff wants to be in the building … all we can do right now is try to brace and prepare ourselves for when that time comes,” Bartolo said.

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