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A Publication of WTVP

The excitement is “building.” The Peoria Civic Center revitalization has been in progress now for eight months, and anyone who’s had the opportunity to drive down Jefferson Avenue or stroll down Kumpf Boulevard can plainly see the landscape of downtown Peoria is changing day by day.

On the exterior, the demolition of the former administration offices and the glass walkway entrance is complete. The weather has been very cooperative, with hundreds of yards of concrete poured in just the last few weeks. The Arena pit is taking shape, so much so that soon you’ll be able to envision being inside the Great Hall, with the concession stands just past the drum wall, the escalator taking you up to the new Club Room, and another escalator whisking you up to the fourth level, where many community banquets will take place. New elevator shafts for the Great Hall have been installed, the new Caterpillar generator is in place, and a 15,000-gallon fuel tank to serve that machine is in the ground. Look for structural steel to go up in the next few weeks.

Inside, the locker rooms for the Bradley Braves men’s basketball and Peoria Rivermen Hockey teams have been totally remodeled, and both organizations are delighted with the results. We’ve also redone several other locker rooms, plus created a “green room” that serves as a media center, a production office, or hospitality room.

Looking at the back of the Civic Center, you’ll notice there are new anchor trusses in place, designed to support the new Exhibit Hall expansion, and that work on the new Jefferson ramp to the loading pit has begun. Picture the new Civic Center Box Office on the marquee side of the building and team store for the Rivermen, plus the new entrances and drop off driveway, and you’ll see the “back” will not only look very different in the next year or so, but be a well designed, efficient front for the building.

Turner Construction and the many contractors have done a super job so far, with few interruptions to clients and events. Just ask John Riles from the Farm Show, held at the Civic Center annually in early December, who noted that this year’s event had one of the smoothest move in/move outs ever. Riles was very pleased with the coordination of the construction work and his event and plans to use all 110,000 square feet of exhibit space for the Farm Show in 2007.

For fans of sporting events and concerts, the Civic Center revitalization means an upgrade of customer services, such as new and faster concessions; more restrooms; and a brighter, more modern design for the venue. We’re proud to be a leader in the revitalization of downtown Peoria, ensuring Peoria’s home for live entertainment will be better than ever for the next 25 years.

The time is flying by, so mark your calendars now; the grand opening will be in fall 2007. IBI

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