Founded in 2017 by a dedicated group of young professionals, Build Peoria seeks to improve the region by focusing on a new project each year, selected by members from a pool of community submissions. While the organization’s inaugural effort, the Duryea Dog Park in Peoria Heights, came to life in just four months, their second project—the renovation of a home for the Peoria Police Department’s Resident Officer program—required more time. But it was worth the wait, says board member Kyle Lewis, as Officer Keith Burwell moved into the house at 1011 NE Madison in early May.
“It took almost two years, but we are thrilled to announce the house is complete!” he says. “We had to completely gut the house… Plumbing, electrical, walls, studs, floors, roof, windows, anything you can think of: we had it redone. All this was done through months of rain, a polar vortex, now a pandemic, and every other expected hiccup that happens with construction.
As the new Resident Officer home comes online, Build Peoria’s 2019 project—the construction of four to six bus stop shelters—is temporarily on hold due to the pandemic. “We are working with CityLink on high-need locations that will have the greatest benefit to the community,” Lewis notes. “We are optimistic we will be able to get them all in by the end of the year!” The group plans to announce their 2020 project later this month.
Amidst the recent lockdown, Build Peoria purchased over 100 gift cards from local restaurants for giveaways—a welcome payback for assisting with their annual chili cookoff fundraiser. Meanwhile, the Peoria Police Department is planning an official ribbon cutting in July to welcome Officer Burwell to the neighborhood. For more information, find Build Peoria on Facebook or visit buildpeoria.org. PM