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A Publication of WTVP

Mayor Jim Maloof’s State of the City address included a summary of positive events in the city in 1992: new buildings by Janssen, Becker and Cullinan; improvements in the Madison Theater block; a renovated Holiday Inn City Centre; a move by RE/MAX into the former Montgomery Ward building at Liberty and Adams; Bob Cohen’s Old Town project; Caterpillar’s remodeling of the former Security Savings Building; and a new plan for the downtown and riverfront.

Caterpillar Inc. Chairman Don Fites announced that the company would no longer take action against employees who wear clothing and buttons making personal attacks against him, such as the infamous "Permanently replace Fites" t-shirts.

What has changed most about doing business over the years in the Greater Peoria Area?
What has changed the most is the demise of the small retail store. Back in 1946 when I went out on the road, there were probably 250 customers just in the south end of Peoria, south of Franklin Street. Today, just a handful of independently owned businesses are there. That’s true of every area of town. There are only a couple of independent drugstores left. Most of the grocery stores are chains. There used to be hundreds of independent grocery stores. The whole industry has changed. The smaller ones are gone and the bigger ones get bigger. It has made a drastic change in the amount of business we do in the Peoria area as compared to even 10 years ago.
Dale Burklund, Burklund Distributors, Inc.

EAST SIDE NEWS
Promoters and opponents of the proposed Eastport Marina in East Peoria squared off at a public hearing. East Peoria officials want the go-ahead for a 600-slip public marina near Jonah’s Seafood House off Route 116, a potential $20 million project which could include a hotel, restaurants and condominiums. East Peoria leaders see the project as an economic development jewel, but opponents maintain that the development would disrupt the local riverfront environment, destroy wetlands and cause increased sedimentation and flooding.

Ethanol production will get a boost when Pekin’s Midwest Grain Products Inc.’s plant expansion is finished. Construction begins this spring. The plant’s alcohol production will grow from 30 to 90 million.

Excalibur Seasoning will create 10 new jobs with an expansion into Pekin’s Riverway Business Park. The company, a manufacturer of seasonings and spice blends for meat and food processing industries, is set to break ground on the project in May.

POLITICAL RUMBLINGS
Fears are that the retirement of 18th
District Rep. Bob Michel after 1994 could see central Illinois take a
hit insofar as its clout in the nation’s capitol. Community and
business leaders acknowledge that it will be difficult to adjust to the
idea of not having a local congressman as a major player in Washington.

Manufacturers
and sellers of saxophones are reporting that sales of the musical
instruments have boomed since Bill Clinton played his sax on Arsenio
Hall’s late-night TV show during last fall’s presidential campaign. Who
says the president isn’t doing his part to stimulate the economy? It’s
just too bad he didn’t drive an Oldsmobile out on the Arsenio set.

Former
Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, in one of his first public
appearances since leaving office, was the keynote speaker at the 95th
annual Washington Day Banquet of the Creve Coeur Club of Peoria.

Three
of Peoria’s five districts have new city councilmen, with newcomers
Andre Bohannon, Stephen Kouri and David Ransburg being elected to the
first, fourth and fifth districts. Gary Sandberg and David Koehler were
re-elected to the second and third districts.

  • Caterpillar Engine Division became the first major engine manufacturer in the United States to be awarded the ISO 9000 quality standard.
  • Paul Gordon, veteran Peoria newspaper reporter, was named Journal Star business editor.
  • Ruppman Marketing Technologies, Inc. received a record-breaking one million telemarketing calls for the month of March. In 1979, the company received one million calls during the entire year.
  • RLI Corp.‘s highly successful employee suggestion program was recognized by Inc. magazine in its August edition…According to the company’s 1992 statistics, over 1,300 suggestions were received, with 85 percent of RLI employees having made at least one suggestion.
  • The Airport Authority is looking into the possibility of restoring an air show to Peoria. The airport’s last show was in 1989, and it has seen major expansions since that time.
  • Bruce Saurs maintains that Rivermen hockey is in Peoria to stay, despite offers from other U.S. cities interested in buying the club. Saurs recently turned down an offer for $4 million from investors in Florida.
  • West Peoria is officially a city, following November’s election in which residents overwhelmingly approved incorporation as a municipality.

Ray LaHood, chief
of staff to Rep. Bob Michel for the past 10 years, announced his plans
to seek the Republican nomination for the 18th District House seat. A
Peoria resident, LaHood is a graduate of Spalding Institute and Bradley
University.

EXPANSION & DEVELOPMENT
Peoria’s largest retail development currently under construction, Glen Hollow shopping center, is progressing. Construction on the Target store, one of three announced anchors including Szold’s and Cub Foods, is well underway. The shopping center, developed by David Joseph, plans to open this fall.

Prudential Cullinan Properties Ltd. and local businessman Jerry Weaver will jointly develop a new subdivision just off Charter Oak Road near Ravina Lake.

O’Brien Steel will create 15 new jobs and retain 76 as part of a $1.5 million expansion at its plant on Northeast Adams Street in Peoria.

The new exhibit hall expansion to the Peoria Civic Center is now open, and Peoria business leaders are hoping that it will be a significant factor in contributing to convention growth in Peoria. The expanded hall, now the largest in downstate Illinois, opened during the Central Illinois Auto Show in April.

Tourism officials are expecting some three million tourists to stop in Peoria in 1993, surpassing the record 2.7 million in 1992, a number that jumped dramatically due to new attractions, including the Par-A-Dice riverboat casino.

FINANCIAL FILE
Caterpillar, Keystone and Dresser Industries are among local companies which have moved over the last year to reduce medical costs paid to retirees. In the battle to control healthcare costs, corporations are instituting higher co-payments, increasing annual deductibles, utilizing cost-containment measures such as preferred provider agreements, limiting prescription benefits and dropping certain coverages.

The long-awaited sale of the Community Bank of Greater Peoria became official in November as Magna Bank of Illinois bought some $200 million of its assets. Magna Bank joins First of America Bank, Commerce Bank, Bank One and Norwest Bank as the fifth large regional bank holding company to acquire a local banking operation.

November saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average climb to record highs, surpassing the 3700 mark for the first time on November 16th when the market reacted optimistically to growing congressional support for NAFTA. iBi

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