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The Renaissance Park Commission met May 17 and discussed several important issues. The members of Bradley University’s Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR)—along with District 150 and our education subcommittee—are volunteering to develop the Math, Science and Technology Academy project. The ILR has divided into three working groups. The Asset Mapping Group is looking at current local and regional opportunities. The Report Research Group is looking at data and research about Peoria. The Best Practices Group is investigating other model programs from around the country. The goal is to complete a project proposal by the end of 2006 for presentation to the Peoria City Council and District 150 School Board.

Converse Marketing began working on 2006 deliverables and already has completed the news update feature for the web site. The Renaissance Park web site www.renaissanceparkpeoria.com will be updated weekly with news about the neighborhoods, schools, and anchor institutions. Staff and Converse Marketing will work with Neighborhood Advisory Council representatives on the creation of a driving/walking guide of the Renaissance Park neighborhoods. Each neighborhood will research its history and suggested points of interest. The guide will be created in a format easy to distribute and use by realtors, homebuyers, and tourists but also will serve as the focal point of a Renaissance Park kickoff celebration, tentatively planned for the evening of September 21.

The Department of Economic Development staff will work with staff from Planning and Growth Management to notify the commission of upcoming zoning issues that affect Renaissance Park. The commissioners were encouraged to attend the charrette and technical meeting that took place with the Heart of Peoria Commission May 24. Beginning May 19, Ferrell Madden Associates has held daily public charrettes to get input from interested parties regarding form-based codes.

Funds have been dedicated to enhance Columbia Terrace Boulevard, which runs through five neighborhoods. A special services district is being recommended to support the main thoroughfare in the years ahead. Under the current regulations, at least 51 percent of the frontage along Columbia Terrace must be committed by the owner for proceeding with a special services district. The Columbia Terrace project has secured 33 signatures—or 45 percent of the frontage—so far. The group met at the end of May to determine its progress and strategize on final steps.

The commission approved neighborhood requests from Columbia Terrace North for pocket park improvements, High Wine for relocation of Easton Fountain, Old Towne North for pocket park improvements, Glen Oak for purchase of street furniture, Randolph/Roanoke for creation of a micro-park and landscaping around sound barrier wall, and East Bluff United for pocket park improvements.

The Neighborhood Advisory Council agreed to investigate holding a Renaissance Park open house on a day throughout the summer and fall for all homes up for sale in the area. Staff will work with Neighborhood Advisory Council members to determine dates, coordinate with sellers, and investigate advertisement. IBI

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