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Vintage Photo Peoria Downtown

Reviving Downtown

We’ve done it before. Can we do it again? “Downtown was the center of everything … The streets were thronged … People window-shopped along Main Street or lined up for the Saturday shows at the Madison, the Palace and the Rialto.” Those were the 1940s and ‘50s, Downtown Peoria’s heyday. …

An empty lot awaiting development at State Street and SW Washington

‘They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot’

Songwriter Joni Mitchell was clear in her sentiments, but does Downtown Peoria need more asphalt, less, or something in between? Reader quiz: Does Downtown Peoria have: A) too much parking B) too little parking or C) parking in all the wrong places? For Michael Freilinger, president and CEO of Peoria’s …

Devotion to Downtown

Two churches rooted in the central city minister to the immediate neighborhood At a time when some churches are closing their doors due to a decade-long drop in people in the pews, two churches in Downtown Peoria are stepping up and stepping out as models of morality, hope and help …

Congressman Bob Michel with President Dwight Eisenhower

Once upon a time, America’s leaders worked together

Congressman Bob Michel would have turned 100 this month U.S. Rep. Bob Michel only once officially wielded the Speaker’s gavel. Coming to the close of his 38th year in Congress, the longtime minority leader got the chance when Democratic Speaker Tom Foley crossed the aisle and let him gavel the proceedings …

Peoria Civic Center

Breathing new life into Peoria’s Downtown

Peoria Civic Center General Manager Rik Edgar has presided over record sales and sold-out shows Will it play in Peoria? If you ask Peoria Civic Center General Manager Rik Edgar, the answer is, “Absolutely.” Since he came to Peoria in 2018, Edgar has worked to diversify the Civic Center’s entertainment …

Owner B.J. Allgeyer pauses inside Jiggs’ Cardinal Inn in the west-central Illinois village of Alexis.

Whatever happened to Shanghai City?

A 19th century twister took out the town, but left a popular bar B.J. Allgeyer wonders if his tavern in Alexis has a superpower. Does it really repel tornados? “That’s what we hope for,” he says with a smile. Jiggs’ Cardinal Inn — Jiggs was his grandfather and a longtime …

Andy Driscoll in an empty room in the Maxam Building

The sounds of silence in Downtown Peoria

Downtown businessman Andy Driscoll wants to fill that void and get the maximum out of his MAXAM Building Empty buildings across the Downtown Peoria landscape have been a drag on the area for years. But at least one Downtown building owner and manager isn’t dragging his feet. Andy Driscoll, whose …

Commerce and Compassion, finding a balance

Regarding Downtown’s homeless population, ‘a little respect can go a long way,’ but it cuts both ways John Kittinger sees two faces of Downtown homelessness. There’s the glower from business owners and customers quick to judge street people as scary and polarizing. And there’s the indifference of panhandlers and others …

Michael Freilinger is president and CEO of the Downtown Development Corporation

The captains behind the curtain

Peoria’s Downtown Development Corporation acts as a ‘quick reaction force’ for getting things done in city’s center Peoria’s Downtown Development Corporation has no publicly elected board members, it cannot make policy and receives no public funding. Yet 10 years after its creation, the DDC can point to its involvement in …

Building Downtown’s future one building and block at a time

Developer Casey Baldovin is the man of the moment in Peoria’s Warehouse District with more than 100 residential units coming on line Sitting in the Zion Coffee Bar with Casey Baldovin offers a real-world exercise in show and tell. Baldovin, at 38 one of the most active current developers Downtown, …

Kert Huber

Saving old buildings is ‘in his blood’

From 401 Water to 416 Main, developer Kert Huber has left a mark on Downtown as few others have If there has been a king of Downtown development over the last few decades, the crown may go to Kert Huber, not that he’s keen on wearing it. The 74-year-old Dunlap …

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