A Publication of WTVP

Lakeview Museum, in cooperation with the Museum Collaboration Group and the Peoria Historical Society, is beginning a study of possible sites for the proposed downtown/riverfront museum.

Caterpillar Inc. joined the Peoria Regional Biocollaborative and participated in the Discovery Forum on May 31st at the Peoria Civic Center, at which Caterpillar CEO Glen Barton spoke. Over the past 18 months, the Biocollaborative has continued to coalesce, anchored by the College of Medicine, USDA Ag Lab, Bradley University, Illinois Central College, and three Peoria hospitals.

In May, major planning initiatives were announced with Mayor Ransburg’s Vision 2020 regional task force and the charrette process of Miami-based planning firm Duany Plater-Zyberk. Both will help form a comprehensive roadmap for the Peoria area’s future. It will give leaders from all major business and community-interest sectors-and citizens too-an opportunity to offer input into our ideal future state.

The Peoria Regional Biocollaborative announced its new name and the formation of its first commercialization partnership. The new name is Peoria NEXT, meant to embody forward thinking for Peoria. The partnership is between the USDA Ag Lab and zuChem, Inc., a startup biotechnology company focused on the development of a range of sugar-based products. The partnership will help commercialize a superior source of a reduced-caloric sweetener.


"It’s as if the state of Illinois is having a morning-after. The endless party of the ’90s is over, and we’re waking to a very painful horizon. Deep cuts in state spending are certain; tax increases threatened. The news keeps getting worse. Projections show a 2003 budget shortfall estimated at $1.3 billion, a figure likely to rise.

"It’s clear rising state revenues in the past decade allowed lawmakers to take their eyes off runaway spending. Maybe they bought into the dot-com hype that the ‘new economy’ would forever raise all boats. In any case, the mess reveals Illinois’ spending boom for the all-night party it really was. No one’s volunteering to clean up the mess."
-Jan Wright, Publisher

Hanna City Work Camp closed on October 1st as part of the state corrections department cutbacks. Some people losing their jobs are upset, however, because a new prison is going up in Kankakee–Gov. Ryan’s hometown.

They Said It…
"Businesses and communities are in constant change and go hand-in-hand. What is good for one is good for the other. People say to me, ‘Will these community projects ever end?’ And I always say ‘no’ because the more projects we have, the better and stronger our community becomes to serve its residents and to attract new residents. Quality change results in better quality and better family life-and that’s what a community is for. When positive business and community development occur, business provides the financial means to assist community development, and in return, a strong community attracts people who provide efforts for business."
-Rita Kress, The Kress Corporation

The State of Illinois has leased the 63-acre former Zeller Zone Mental Health Facility to Illinois Central College for up to 20 years, unlocking a wide-ranging community collaboration of educational programs. "This is the most significant expansion of educational opportunities for our community since ICC was founded in 1967," said Dr. John Erwin, president of the College. ICC intends to have the building ready for use for the spring 2003 semester.

"We recently counted the number of partnerships we have and identified more than 750 partners. Without these partnerships, we wouldn’t have the resources at ICC to do what we do instructionally. An obvious example is the Caterpillar Dealer Service Technician Training Program. The program reflects positively on Caterpillar’s commitment to have well-trained technicians and ICC’s willingness to be open to new programs. It’s a mutual interest and a mutual gain for both of us."
-Dr. John Erwin, Illinois Central College

Caterpillar’s ACERT technology will be commercially available beginning early next year. The company has invested nearly one-half billion dollars in ACERT technology, which will position Caterpillar for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards in 2007 and beyond.

Ameren Corporation, which is purchasing CILCORP, Inc., announced details of the transaction and reiterated plans to retain CILCO jobs. Headquarters of AmerenCILCO will remain in Peoria, where Ameren anticipates maintaining the existing operations center, customer call center, business-to-business and retail marketing groups.

  • WTVP became the first public television station in Illinois to inaugurate a digital high-definition broadcast on January 7th.
  • Jim’s Steakhouse relocated its North Knoxville Avenue restaurant to Peoria Heights on June 1st. It joined with the existing 4612 Bistro and took the new name "Jim’s Bistro."
  • Groundbreaking took place in July for the $920,000 renovation of Tower Park in Peoria Heights.
  • The Dirksen Congressional Center plans to build a new facility in the Pekin area about 2.5 miles east of its present location.
  • Solomon Balraj has accepted the job as the new director of airports for the Greater Peoria Regional Airport.
  • U.S. News and World Report named Eureka College No. 1 in the best value category among Midwestern comprehensive colleges that offer only bachelor’s degrees.

The 125th anniversary of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis was recognized in ceremonies at the medical center. The year-long celebration began with a Thanksgiving Mass in January and will conclude with a November gala at the Peoria Civic Center.

Pekin Mall is currently under development by Cullinan Properties and will be turned into East Court Village.

"An exciting future is coalescing downtown, with the Civic Center and O’Brien Field, expansion of the Peoria Zoo, Peoria Regional Collaborative and the Lakeview Regional Museum. The renaissance of Peoria is clearly a vision people can now see."
-W. Michael Bryant, Methodist Medical Center

"It’s time to intensify and accelerate our efforts to market and promote Peoria. We are once again building steam. The incredible strides this region has made from measurable economic diversification to prospects for growth in the biotechnology sector is largely unknown to an important audience outside the area, and even to many who live here.

"The stories of the Peoria area’s progress need to be invigorated and expanded. As publishers of InterBusiness Issues, we are proud to launch Peoria Progress, a new bi-annual publication devoted to delivering news and information on business development, growth and our strategic assets-not just in Peoria, but in the growing communities that surround Peoria as well. Our focus on quality of life and our many amenities will support the efforts of local companies to bring the best and brightest here, to attract new retail and commercial development."
-Jan Wright, Publisher iBi