This year will be remembered as a milestone year for the Peoria Civic Center. Not only did the venue celebrate a $55 million upgrade and expansion, it also celebrated its 25th anniversary as the place to be for live entertainment in central Illinois.
This past spring, a large portion of the Civic Center’s new space opened just in time for the IHSA Boys’ State Basketball Tournament. The March 1 ribbon cutting marked the official opening of the Civic Center’s new Great Hall, Exhibit Hall D, Box Office, Civic Center and Rivermen administration offices and Rivermen team store. The popular March Madness Experience expanded into Hall D and used all 110,000 sq. ft. of the exhibit space to entertain thousands of basketball fans with interactive skill games.
On April 11, the Peoria Civic Center cut the ribbon on its elegant new ballroom/flexible meeting space. The fully carpeted ballroom can seat up to 1,600 people for a banquet, and its 27,000 square feet is also divisible into nine breakout rooms for meetings. The first public event to be held in the ballroom was the Creve Coeur Club’s 109th annual George Washington Banquet on Friday, April 13, with keynote speaker and presidential hopeful, U.S. Senator John McCain.
This month marks the 25th month of construction at the Peoria Civic Center. After the two ribbon cutting ceremonies this past spring, many people think the project is finished. It’s getting close, but there are still a few more projects to complete. The new Verizon Wireless Internet Café just opened and provides free Internet access for patrons.
Work continues at the new Jefferson Ave. concession stand located in the old box office lobby inside the arena. This concession stand will offer grilled foods and should minimize concession lines during crowded concerts. Two of the old and smaller arena concession stands are being transformed into two new women’s restrooms. The goal is to minimize restroom lines for women at arena events.
The final project, to be completed in October, is the new club room, along with four arena suites—accessible from the Great Hall escalator and the arena. These new spaces will be used during arena events for private gatherings sponsored by organizations and companies.
As the Peoria Civic Center kicks off its 25th anniversary celebration this year, the people of central Illinois are invited to come down to the Civic Center on July 26-28 and take part in a special rededication weekend. The weekend will feature a “Rock ‘n’ Roll Up Your Sleeve” Red Cross blood drive and rock concert on July 26, an Alison Krauss & Union Station concert on July 27, an Art Garfunkel concert on July 28, backstage tours of the arena and theater and a city services trade show in the Exhibit Hall with raffle prizes and giveaways from 4-7 p.m. on July 27 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on July 28. IBI