'Exciting Time Right Now' In Downtown Peoria

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 7:34am

aerial view of painted intersection
City of Peoria
An aerial view of a painted intersection in Peoria in 2019.

Residents in Peoria are invited to see ideas and provide feedback on ways to increase foot traffic downtown. The city will hold a meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Peoria Community Center, 8335 W. Jefferson St. It’s the latest move to breathe new life into Old Town Peoria.

Widening sidewalks is just one way the city hopes to increase foot traffic along 83rd Avenue near Grand Avenue. Planning Director Chris Jacques said says they’d also like to add micro parks, create better signs and provide photo opportunities for social media posts.

“I’ve been with the city for about 20 years now, and it’s an exciting time right now,” he said. “This is the most activity I’ve seen in the Old Town area.”

In the last eight weeks, local artists painted five intersections to brighten Old Town. In 2016, Lucidi Distilling co. opened its restaurant and distillery in what was once the city’s first fire station, and the city recently built a ramada near Driftwood Coffee on 83rd Avenue.

“So, now it offers the ability for somebody to sit and enjoy the weather and have a cup of coffee and gather, and that’s really what we’re looking for,” Jacques said.

The city has also been buying properties that included vacant and boarded up buildings.

“We’re holding those properties for now,” Jacques said. “But what they do is they offer us the ability to have a discussion with the private sector, with the development community, about possibly bringing mixed-use residential or retail or services into the Old Town area.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, residents will be able to provide feedback on a design concept the city has developed that shows streetscape changes to 83rd Avenue.

“Because the next step would be — we would then take it to what’s called a design concept report,” Jacques said. “Then, we’re estimating some of the costs for these improvements.”

After determining costs, he said city leaders will make funding decisions for all or some of the ideas for fiscal year 2020-21.

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