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A Publication of WTVP

At the November meeting of the Peoria Medical and Technology District Commission, another milestone was accomplished as the commission approved the conceptual vision and long-range plan for the district. This completes Phase I of the comprehensive master planning process. In addition, we began discussions of the implementation strategies, which is the Phase II component. The commission will consider conducting at least one, public forum in early 2005 to finalize the vision and plan for the district. We encourage public feedback and are interested in hearing from everyone with ideas and suggestions that may improve the initial conceptual plans for our district.

At the December and January meetings, there will be considerable dialogue and discussion regarding implementation strategies to execute the vision and long-range plan. In addition, we'll discuss public feedback we're receiving regarding the vision, long-range plan, and other components identified in Phase I. We're tentatively scheduled to present preliminary information to the Peoria City Council January 25. We look forward to meeting with council members individually, as well as collectively, to begin discussing the vast opportunities we foresee for the future of Peoria in the Medical and Technology District.

The next three years are shaping up to be one of the most significant-if not the most significant-periods in Peoria's history. Several years ago, community members began commenting on a Peoria Renaissance. As a result of the efforts of hundreds of people, and under the guiding hand of Mayor Dave Ransburg, it appears 2005 holds the following:

  • Peoria Innovation Center will break ground.
  • Civic Center expansion begins.
  • Peoria Zoo expansion begins.
  • City of Peoria will finalize arrangements with Lakeview Museum and Caterpillar for the Museum Block.
  • Lakeview Museum will begin construction.
  • Cat Museum will begin construction.
  • Peoria Medical and Technology District Commission Comprehensive Master Plan will be completed, approved, and implementation begun.
  • Final decision on the water company buyout.
  • Peoria Vision 2020 will be finalized and transferred to the Peoria Civic Federation.

When these key building developments begin, more than $200 million of construction will be occurring almost simultaneously-within two square miles of each other. Has there ever been another period where so much economic development of this financial magnitude, concentrated in a small geographic area in downtown Peoria, has occurred?

I've mentioned numerous times that Peoria has great potential, but I've wondered if we had the courage to achieve it. I wondered if the greater Peoria region knew how much was at stake. It very much appears we're on the cusp of a new era.

The year 2005 is going to be the beginning of a great period for Peoria. Taking a cue from the 2004-2005 Bradley University men's basketball media guide: "Let's get it started."

Have a happy and healthy 2005. IBI

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