With the Peoria City Council’s approval of the Peoria Medical and Technology District Commission Comprehensive Master Plan, the district is in full transition mode from planning to implementation. Four initial ad hoc committees—Education, Design Guidelines, Real Estate, and Marketing—have been established and have held their first meetings.
The Education Committee held its initial meeting with representatives from District 150. They’re strongly encouraged that the opportunity to develop a technology magnet program within our district is possible. The Design Guidelines Committee developed the initial steps to codify the standards for West Main Street and the neighborhoods. The Real Estate Committee met to identify opportunities to coordinate development consistent with the Plan.
The Marketing Committee requested Converse Marketing be recommended for city council approval to lead the development of the Med-Tech marketing plan and branding strategy. Converse Marketing is located within the district and has invested a considerable amount of time and resources in its beautiful historic facility. Converse Marketing, as a resident and business owner within the district, understands its future is dependent upon the district’s success and understands the essence of what the district is working so hard to accomplish.
The second transition occurring within the Med-Tech Commission regards leadership. Under the approved bylaws, we require the commission rotate the chair position at least every three years. The chair has a one-year term with two successive one-year terms if approved by the commission. In addition, we want the chair and vice chair always to represent a balance between the institutions and the neighborhoods. Now is a good time to transition to a new chair, with the completion of the Comprehensive Master Plan. Effective July 1, Karla Dennhardt, the former vice-chair who lives and works in the Med-Tech District, assumed the role of chair. William Engelbrecht represents the institutions as vice chair. Kathleen Teegarden, representing the neighborhoods, moved from secretary to treasurer, and Steve Shostrum, representing the West Main Street businesses, became secretary.
Dennhardt as chair further demonstrates the commitment the institutions and neighborhoods have to each other and the shared vision outlined in the plan. It also addresses one of the concerns identified prior to the commission being formed: that the institutions would dominate the development of the plan to the detriment of the neighborhoods that chose to be part of the district. Every commissioner has worked hard to create the shared vision. Each is committed to building upon the wonderful relationships existing between the institutions and neighborhoods.
It was my honor to have been the first chair of the commission. I can’t thank the commission members, Neighborhood Advisory Council, and city staff enough for their support and encouragement. In particular, I’m very appreciative of the support from former Mayor Dave Ransburg, former 2nd District Councilwoman Marcella Teplitz, and the members of the Peoria City Council. Each provided insights into the development of the master plan. It was truly a collaborative experience that will make a difference in Peoria’s future. IBI