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A Publication of WTVP

The Peoria Civic Center is undergoing its most significant redevelopment since its initial construction more than 25 years ago. This redevelopment began with long-range plans initiated by the Peoria Civic Center Authority in 1996 that are remarkably close to the revitalization that's currently underway.

The Peoria Civic Center is a unique development, with an arena, theater, and exhibit halls under one roof. Shortly following this project, it's expected the facilities will attract an additional 250,000 visitors to add to the nearly one million people now visiting annually.

The $55 million revitalization will include expanded concession spaces in the arena, new ticketing centers, team gift shops, new consolidated administrative space, and lots of new restrooms-in addition to the significantly improved locker rooms for the Peoria Rivermen and Bradley University. The project also includes expanded exhibit halls that will provide more than 100,000 square feet of total exhibit space. Flexible meeting space is being added that also will double as a high-quality banquet hall for the important, large community dinners held throughout the year at the Civic Center. Artistic renderings of this development and an animated view of the remarkable architectural enhancements to the complex can be viewed online at www.PeoriaCivicCenter.com.

The Peoria Civic Center Authority; SMG management; and the construction team of HOK Architects, PSA Dewberry Architects, STS Engineering, and Turner Construction Management Company have worked with the Heart of Peoria Commission to develop an improved landscaping plan to make the facilities more pedestrian friendly. These plans recognize the Civic Center's location in the heart of downtown, just two blocks from O'Brien Stadium and two blocks from the soon-to-be-developed Museum Block.

Construction work has started on the arena locker rooms, and we'll soon see significant activity as the more visible aspects of the redevelopment begin. To commemorate the project, a groundbreaking has been scheduled for 4 p.m., June 20. The entire community is invited to join the Peoria City Council, Peoria Civic Center Authority, the SMG management team, and the construction team at this celebration, which will include cake and ice cream. We may even see if Peoria Civic Center Authority Chair Rebekah Bourland can drive a bulldozer.

Peoria is a jewel in the Midwest of the United States, and the Peoria Civic Center is at the center of this wonderful community. Everyone will benefit from this renaissance in downtown Peoria. Peoria is truly moving ahead. IBI

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