The September meeting of the Peoria Medical and Technology District Commission opened with two public hearings. The commission held a public hearing at the request of PSA/Dewberry for Peoria NEXT to obtain a special use for a research development facility—i.e., the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center. With approval by the commission, the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center is in a position, at long last, to have a groundbreaking and begin construction. The facility’s architectural design elements are still under consideration. The groundbreaking is expected to occur yet this year.
The second public hearing was to obtain a special use to convert the Pennsylvania Terrace to single-family, multiple dwelling units. The owners presented their plans to have the building renovated to make it attractive for a number of medical students, Bradley students, residents, and others. Several neighborhood residents commented on the impact of parking in their respective neighborhoods. A key factor in the commission’s approval was their commitment to allow one car per unit, thereby restricting parking on their site and not in the street.
The commission obviously was excited that we’re seeing continued development and renovation of new sites. The commission very much appreciated Rep. Aaron Schock’s commitment to open his office on Main Street, within the Med Tech District. Rep. Schock’s office is the first renovation under the new Med Tech District guidelines. We hope this will become a trend for others to follow.
The key discussion point for the bulk of the meeting was discussion regarding modifying the Peoria Medical and Technology District Ordinance to allow the West Main Street Business Association to be part of the Neighborhood Advisory Council. Serious discussion ensued as to the merits of modifying the ordinance. It was a major concern that the Neighborhood Advisory Council no longer would provide the sole and unique perspective from the neighborhoods, which was a key provision in the ordinance. There are a number of other organizations that exist within the Med Tech District. Should they also become members of the Neighborhood Advisory Council? How should they be involved, if at all? While there was general agreement that the West Main Street Business Association was an important group, located completely in the Med Tech District, and their support and involvement is important, the topic was tabled to allow more time to assess the impact of the decision.
Finally, there continues to be progress made regarding a physician office building on the UICOMP campus. The University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved the lease agreement in principle. Both parties are finalizing the details of the lease agreement. Let’s hope an agreement is reached soon; it would add momentum to the progress already being made in the Med Tech District. IBI