Peoria Riverfront Museum Progressing, More Progress Needed

Published 08/26 2014 11:07PM

Updated 08/27 2014 07:36AM

PEORIA - Financials released today from the Peoria Riverfront Museum show its making progress, but not doing as well as planned.  
The fiscal year runs July 1st to June 30th.
With 2014 now closed, the museum President and CEO revealed the numbers at a Peoria County Board committee meeting, Tuesday.
During the past fiscal year, museum officials say 157,000 people came through the doors of the Peoria Riverfront Museum.
Sam Gappmayer, Museum President and CEO says, “Museums go up and down depending on what they have. In other words, the Ripley’s show was just tremendously successful."
The good news, the museum saw an increase in support revenue, which included more than $1.2 million dollars from exhibit sponsors.
But that still wasn't enough to meet the budget expectations.
Money generated from admissions, theater attendance and memberships was expected to bring in revenues of $2.3 million.
It only brought in $1.2 million for 12 months.
That's compared to $1.1 million the museum earned during the first 10 months of operation in fiscal year 2013.
When it comes to spending, in fiscal year 2014, the museum spent $350,000 dollars more than they expected.
And that's on top of transferring nearly $1.5 million from the capital fund to help balance the budget.
They were forced to do the same thing last year, by transferring nearly $1.1 million
 “These are funds we raised for this purpose, “ Gappmayer adds.
Gappmayer took over the museum in December of 2013.
He says the first six months of fiscal year 2014 were rough.
But the last stretch is where things started to look up.
"A lot of it was right-sizing the staff and creating a staff that was appropriate for an institution serving a community this size. I mean, we scoured every expense item, wherever we could," explains Gappmayer.
Gappmayer anticipates 130.000 people will visit the museum in the next fiscal year.
He says he's being conservative with his projection.
But fewer people, means less revenue.
And leaves the question, will aiming low help the bottom line, or lead to expense cuts in the future.
Actual attendance numbers for the giant screen theater were quite a bit  lower than projected.
Gappmayer says instead of competing with other Cineplex’s, they're working on more throwback, concert, and independent films for more revenue.

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