The City of Peoria is looking for a few good developers to redevelop our historic core.

Jul 10, 2010

Congratulations to East Peoria on Bass Pro Shops

Congratulations to East Peoria on getting Bass Pro Shops into our community. They are a great destination retail outlet, and will bring people and dollar into our community. This will create more jobs and also attract other retail.

There has been some criticism that the City of Peoria did not get this retail giant. But they required 20 acres near the River near the Interstate. That is the equivalent of 7 square blocks in Peoria and there was no way that that much real estate could be acquired in time.

The truth is that "downtown Peoria" is on both sides of the Illinois River near I-74.  Much of the new retail development is on the east side of the River since there was available land.  But any development in our core downtown on either side of the River makes our entire downtown more attractive and functional.

It takes one minute to drive from one side of the River to the other. Quality development on either side of the River is a good thing for our region.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Craig,

WHY do you consider East Peoria's (riverfront) development as part of Peoria's downtown, when it's not? Former City of Peoria development officials, including yourself, were unsuccessful in persuading mass market retailers to our downtown. In fairness to ALL of you, such market decisions aren't within your control. But, it's a distortion to claim East Peoria's (riverfront) retail, despite it's proximity, as Downtown Peoria's. It's not! So, WHY continue to perpetuate such an inaccuracy? EP's riverfront AND (upcoming) new downtown, like Peoria's commercial and entertainment districts, serve the entire metro region. But, they're distinct communities with distinct populations. Pretending otherwise is inaccurate and slightly offensive to each community's residents!

The City of Peoria's geographic boundaries nor it's tax base extends across the Illinois River as in some metropolitan regions (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Etc.). Artificially linking East Peoria's riverfront to ours is like saying New Jersey City's waterfront business district is part of Manhattan. It's not only inaccurate, but a " wound " to many Peoria residents that our civic leaders failed to attract such development to our banks. Adopting an " If you can't beat em, join em " mentality doesn't... ' Play in Peoria ' ! You may consider such issues as irrelevant and trivial. But, from a native perspective, it isn't. Our civic divisions, for better or worse, are sown in politics AND economics! Feel welcome to reply.

Thank You,

Christopher Callen


Good comments. The Peoria region is a bit different from other river towns I have worked in. The cities of Elgin, Aurora, Joliet, and Kankakee have annexed both sides of the River, so there is no big concern about which side of the river the development takes place.

In the case of Peoria and East Peoria we have two separate cities and Counties. But I think it is one integrated commercial area. I live just above downtown Peoria on High St. East Peoria is our commercial downtown. Very quick and easy to get to.

The historic downtown of Peoria is built at a high density. Pretty hard to fit modern auto oriented commercial into the existing city fabric. You would have to tear down a lot of fine old buildings to create a modern shopping center. And no one wants to do that.


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