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The Peoria Medical and Technology District Commission met October 28. Our lead consultant, Richard Huffman of Wallace Roberts and Todd, highlighted and summarized progress to date including the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each neighborhood; the summary of both charettes held to date; design guidelines; and initial renderings for the potential look of the Med/Tech Corridor. Many of these items were outlined at the September 16 charette at Bradley University. Important feedback was received from the participants regarding minimum and maximum action items for success. The plan is taking shape.

The Med/Tech Corridor is being proposed for development as three nodes. The University node is the approximately one-third mile between University Avenue and Bourland. Proceeding toward the downtown area, the one-third mile between Bourland and Sheridan would be the Technology node. At the center is the technology incubator, tentatively named the Peoria Innovation Center. The Medical node comprises the one-third mile between Sheridan and Main, adjacent to the medical institutions.

In the University node, the expansion opportunities for Bradley and University-related business is the dominant theme. This includes such potential ideas as new Bradley academic buildings, new student residences, a university-oriented hotel, student center, and office space near the Technology node. A redeveloped Campus Town center with a stronger connection to the university athletic fields is envisioned.

In the Technology node, the catalyst is the Peoria Innovation Center, with other incubators to be developed nearby. Plans envision multiple buildings with apartments over retail businesses along Main Street. In addition, adaptive reuse of existing buildings would be strongly encouraged.

In the Medical node, the potential for medical-related businesses and professional offices would certainly be encouraged, consistent with the development plans of the medical institutions. In particularly, the expansion of the UICOMP campus and its capabilities are a dominant theme.

Ideas were presented regarding the neighborhoods, but individual renderings aren't available yet. The initial renderings and design guidelines along Main Street were displayed, and several principles are beginning to emerge. For example, we discussed building orientation, building mapping and scale, entries and windows, architectural materials and colors, service loading areas, mechanical equipment, parking, and outdoor spaces.

At the end of the meeting, Huffman walked us from the Peoria Innovation Center toward the medical node in a step-by-step progression from current conditions to a desired future state.

The commission members are enthusiastic about the Med/Tech Corridor's future. We believe the urban feel reminiscent of the period of history when Main Street was vibrant and alive will be recreated. We're close to finalizing the draft of the written master plan. The next objective is to get approval of the draft master plan and to begin public dissemination and discussion. The commission looks forward to hearing from you. IBI

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