A Publication of WTVP

Main Street was identified as the prime location to develop a research/technology park—connecting the medical communities, Bradley, and the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR)—during the planning stages for Peoria NEXT. Further support was provided by the Heart of Peoria plan.

Recent events have elevated the strategic importance of a designated research/technology park. Peoria NEXT’s first start-up, ZuChem, is progressing much faster than expected and needs more space. Without a new location, our first start-up company could leave. There are several key opportunities currently under evaluation that could be lost, as well, without a designated research/technology area.

Another key event was the decision of the local oncologists not to build their facility downtown. If the medical community abandons downtown Peoria, the future of Peoria NEXT, as well as the future livelihood of downtown Peoria, would be in serious jeopardy.

To help address the situation, an ordinance creating the Peoria Medical and Technology District has been proposed. This ordinance, which creates the Peoria Medical and Technology District Commission, would have the following key purposes:

Other cities have created various research parks. Kalamazoo has a technical park called the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, as well as a Michigan Life Science Corridor. Grand Rapids has the Grand Rapid SmartZone. Madison, Wis., has the University Research Park. Louisville, Ky., has the Health Enterprise Zone, as well as E Main USA, a high-tech corridor for electronic commerce, just to name a few.

Main Street used to be the “main street” of Peoria—the center of this community. It could be again. IBI