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The Peoria Civic Center’s $55 million Revitalization will mark an important point with a “Topping Out Celebration” June 27. That’s the date the highest and last beam of steel will be put in place, and the public is invited to stop by anytime from 4 to 5 p.m. The beam will be painted white, and everyone will have the opportunity to sign the steel before it’s hoisted into place. Complimentary refreshments will be served, and tours of the construction site will be available.

The Peoria Civic Center’s Revitalization broke ground just 12 months ago, on June 20, 2005, and look how far it’s come. The loading pit was demolished, then rebuilt with hundreds of yards of concrete forming new ramps and underground docks. It’s a whole new world down there, designed to accommodate the larger semi-trucks that bring greater Peoria the big name concerts the market has come to expect. Security will be improved, and load-ins will be much more efficient.

Above ground the changes are very visible, with beams of steel now creating the outline of the expansion and changing the landscape of downtown Peoria. You can see the shape of the new exhibit hall, with the flexible meeting rooms on top, and the new three-story building off Jefferson Street that will house the new box office, Rivermen office and team store, and Civic Center administrative offices. We’re adding the flower posters from the second graders at Harrison School each month, making quite a pretty collection so far.

Turner Construction and the many contractors have made remarkable progress this year, due to a very mild winter and good management. Clients continue to be amazed by how smoothly events are going, with no construction interruptions. The planning has paid off handsomely, and now that the project is half completed, the excitement is starting to build for the grand opening next year. Not only will the Peoria Civic Center cut red ribbons for the completion of the Revitalization, but there also will be silver themes the entire year, as 2007 is its 25th anniversary.

Finally, for all patrons, this very important reminder: there will be dozens of new restroom facilities, including four women’s restrooms off the new concession court, the site of the current box office lobby. There also will be two new concession areas, featuring some new menu items with a local flavor, escalators to transport you upstairs to the new Club Room and Ballroom, nicer floor finishes and lighting, and a stylish design that citizens of Peoria will be proud to call their new and improved Civic Center—the place to be for live entertainment for the next 25 years.

Don’t miss the Topping Out Celebration June 27. It will be another memorable moment in downtown Peoria’s history. Also, check out the latest architect renderings, and many “before” and “after” photographs, displayed on the web site at www.peoriaciviccenter.com. IBI

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