At the February board meeting, City of Peoria Economic Development Director Craig Hullinger presented findings of an online survey of the likelihood to live in selected parts of the city. He introduced Lou Schendl of IceCentric, who prepared and conducted the survey. In total, 1,545 people responded, which is a surprisingly high number. The survey was sent out to institutions within the Renaissance Park District, the neighborhoods, and downtown locations such as the Riverfront Arts District (formerly the Warehouse District). Roughly 30 percent of respondents indicated a desire to live in Renaissance Park, downtown, or in the Riverfront Arts District.
The commission was encouraged by such a strong response. We believe if we can continue to meet the objectives and standards we’ve set for Renaissance Park that we will, indeed, contribute to making downtown Peoria a strong place to live, work, play, and learn. We’re encouraged that this response is consistent with what we’ve been told occurs in urban areas across the country.
For example, the next generation of college graduates is very mobile and wants to reside in cities that are livable and high tech and where there are activities that create an engaging, active lifestyle. As Baby Boomers age, there’s a trend to move back to cities, where there are activities they find stimulating. Given the national trends and local opportunities, we’re encouraged that we can create the type of environment conducive to both generations.
In addition, the marketing of Renaissance Park was a major theme for the meeting. A new marketing brochure, developed and produced by Converse Marketing, was distributed and reviewed.
Street banners will be installed along Main Street in the near future. A web site, www.renaissanceparkpeoria.com, has been launched. As commissioners, we’re sensitive that the name Renaissance Park be communicated accurately and not shortened to Ren Park or RP. We’re very concerned about establishing an identity of Renaissance Park and emphasizing the logo and other amenities I addressed in a previous article.
We’re close to a memorandum of understanding with District 150 for a math, science, and technology school. The final memorandum will require approval by the Peoria City Council.
The progress along Columbia Terrace continues to move forward. Residents and property owners along Columbia Terrace have met to unveil their proposed enhancements. District 150 has agreed to participate as part of a special assessment, along with 50 percent of homeowners along Columbia Terrace, to sign a petition. This is yet another commitment from the residents to be part of creating a new environment for themselves, as well as for the district. A recent newspaper article described the excitement a neighborhood resident feels for what’s happening in Renaissance Park. Just wait. You won’t recognize Renaissance Park in five years.
To obtain a copy of the Renaissance Park marketing brochure, call 494-8618. IBI