A Publication of WTVP

On March 1, the Peoria Medical and Technology District Commission reached its first significant milestone. Mayor David Ransburg and the council approved the comprehensive master plan for the Peoria Medical and Technology District, as recommended by the commission and Neighborhood Advisory Council.

The commission thanks Mayor Ransburg and the Peoria City Council for approving our plan. This master plan is truly a shared vision among the institutions, neighborhoods, and West Main Street business group. The council should be pleased with its decision to create the district and its boundaries of 770 acres comprising nine neighborhoods and five institutions. Many people may recall the controversy surrounding the district boundaries. There were various concerns about how big the district should be and whether the institutions and neighborhoods should be joined in the district.

The unanimous approval of the plan by the commission and Neighborhood Advisory Council indicates the ordinance approved by the Peoria City Council was the right decision. In this unique case, the institutions and neighborhoods have developed relationships, strengthened the trust, and promoted the potential for real success of the district.

The commission and Neighborhood Advisory Council should be pleased as well. There were many nay-sayers who thought-or hoped-we would fail. While it's great to celebrate our initial success, the real work begins now. In addition to approving the master plan, the council also approved a budget of $830,679 for the 2005 calendar year and concurred with our top 10 priority projects:

  • Design guidelines/rezoning implementation.
  • Columbia Terrace streetscape improvement project.
  • District 150 Task Force.
  • Development of Med Tech branding/identification program.
  • Development of coordinated and comprehensive housing strategy.
  • Securing of real estate.
  • Neighborhood improvements/aesthetics and safety.
  • Non-profit operating entity-West Main Street Corridor.
  • Creation of special service district(s).
  • West Main Street façade improvement program.

The priority projects reflect a strong balance between the issues affecting the neighborhoods and development of the Med Tech Corridor. We've identified more than 25 projects to review over the next five years. One issue, parking on Main Street, will be evaluated in 2007, following completion of the I-74 construction.

A key item will be the non-profit operating entity that will focus on developing the West Main Street Corridor. The council approved entering into discussion with Peoria NEXT to pursue the specifics of a dedicated operating entity.

Most-if not all-of these 10 projects will require a period of planning with more details and specifics on how to proceed. In addition, some projects may require a public hearing. Finally, all or most of the projects will require final city council approval before full implementation can occur.

If you would like more information or to review a copy of the master plan, call 494-8640. IBI