Peoria Welcomes Biggest Park Yet

September 20, 2013

What does a 26 million park look like? Huge for starters.

pond Pioneer Community Park has a lot packed into its 83 acres including a large pond, which will be ready for local fishing enthusiasts in January. (Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)

Peoria is poised to open Pioneer Community Park, its biggest ever, this weekend. It is the sixth park to open since 2011, and Pioneer cost more than the five previous projects combined.

At 83 acres, it has several playgrounds, picnic areas and lighted athletic fields. There is a dog park, soon-to-be stocked fishing pond and children’s splash pad.

Peoria spokesman Bo Larsen said completing parks has been important to Peoria, even as it recovers from the recession.

“It’s one thing that housing may stop building. Economic development may slow down,” he said. “But people still live in their communities, and they have certain expectations. And a city like Peoria, people wanted to live out here because of the quality of life and the character of the city.”

That character is reinforced by parks like this one, Larsen explained, but this is not just about quality of life. Peoria Community Services Director John Sefton said parks can also help entice new business to town.

kid There are plenty of child-friendly elements to the park, including several playgrounds and a seasonal "splash pad." For four-legged children, there is a dog park with different areas for dogs of various sizes. (Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)

“There is a good balance of, you know, benefit to the individual,” he said, “but there is also benefit to business and, therefore, benefit to the community as a whole, economically.”

In other words, when Peoria puts money into parks, it expects a return on the investment. Some of the money for this project came was raised with a city bond back in 2005.

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