The January 25, 2022 Council meeting began with public hearing regarding creation of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, to be known as University/War TIF. There were no public comments, after three calls by Mayor Ali and the hearing closed with no discussion.
Consent agenda approved by Council members. The main topic of business for the evening was an update to the Council and public on status of passenger rail initiative (train speeds of 80-100 miles per hour), a priority of Mayor Ali. She has been in discussion on high-speed rail with Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood over the past six months. A committee has been formed with Councilor Ruckriegel and other local stakeholders, including state representatives, IDOT secretary Omer Osman, County Board Chair Andrew Rand, as well as labor and business leaders, and Bradley University. City Manager Urich provided an overview of Committee, rationale for passenger rail system, IDOT Feasibility Study (to be completed in April) and available funding through Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. A survey has been launched to get community input about the Passenger Rail Initiative.
The Council unanimously approved revisions to City Façade Improvement Program, which will be expanded to all businesses in Peoria with funds from American Rescue Plan. Senior Economic Specialist Kevin Evans shared that proposed changes would expand eligibility for program, increase fund limit and reimbursement amount for distressed areas. City Manger Urich will have administrative authority for this program.
The meeting was held both in person and through streaming ZOOM on the Peoria Park
District Facebook page. President Johnson called the meeting to order at 6:00. All
Trustees were present, either in person or on ZOOM.
Superintendent of Recreational Services, Scott Loftus, discussed the Play Books (the
guide to summer programs) and their distribution both as hard copies and online to all
the students and home schoolers in Peoria.
Superintendent of Parks, Matt Freeman, reported that all projects are running on
All agenda items were approved.
Discussion was held about the fact that an all-out effort to recruit and train lifeguards has
been unsuccessful but will continue. There is persistent dearth of lifeguard recruits
across the country so this situation is not unique to Peoria.
Adjournment at 7:17 p.m.
On Friday, January 14, 2022, the Board of Elections voted to approve the precinct boundaries as presented on Tuesday. Lines are drawn based on registered voters, not the census, but work had to wait for State and Federal districts to be drawn before finalizing the county. Executive Director Tom Bride feels resources will be allocated better with fewer precincts. Based on projected early and mail-in ballots, approximately 50% of voters will not be at polling places on election day. Concern was expressed by Commissioner Williamson that there be enough equipment at the larger polling places to avoid long lines. Precincts can be subdivided in the future if that proves necessary.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
The Peoria County Board held its regular meeting January 13th with all present. There were no Citizen’s Remarks.
The Consent agenda passed on a vote of 17-1 without discussion. Among items approved were:
Jim Runyon, Observer
Links to the meeting agenda and video are here:
The meeting was held both in person and through streaming Zoom on the Peoria Park
District Facebook page. President Johnson conducted the meeting via Zoom and called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Director Rebecca Shulman from The Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum spoke about
the fact that the Museum has had to deal with a 15-month closure due to COVID and
laid out a strategic plan going forward. Priority items included the following:
Trustee Jackie Petty was appointed Vice President of the Board 2022.
Director Cahill reiterated the policy of the park district agenda being posted online on
the Friday before the Wednesday meeting. This is more time than the legally required
48 hours before a scheduled meeting. There was some discussion whether or not the
notice could be expanded to 10 to 14 days because of future discussion of the possible
amphitheater construction project in Donovan Park. No action was taken.
The meeting adjourned at 7:35 with the board going into executive session.
The council members set dates for policy meetings to discuss redistricting of city of Peoria based on 2020 census results. Meetings are scheduled January 18, February 1 and 15, March 1, 15, and 29th. Check www.peoriagov.org for more details on how to attend one of these virtual sessions. The goal is for districts to be nearly equal in population, compact, contiguous, respect geographic boundaries and shared interests, and preserve incumbent districts.
Emily Cahill, Director of Peoria Park District, presented overview of $600,00.00 of updates scheduled for Trewyn Park to include playground, basketball court, and shelter to provide public space for quality social activity.
Consent Agenda was passed with one exception; one item deferred for two weeks for clarification prior to approving contract for demolition of properties. Presentations from Peoria Police Department and Fire Department were received by Council. Reports gave overview of department hiring, attrition and retention over past year, as well as diversity demographics.
Council members continue to discuss concerns regarding potential parking, noise levels and overcrowding, regarding approval of short-term rentals in Uplands neighborhood. Mayor Ali reminded the councilors that policies have been developed to address saturation in neighborhoods and encouraged members to be consistent with this.
Under new business, Councilman Kelly asked for report back on program requiring landlords to register rental property with focus on the impact of program on available, quality housing. It was noted this program started twenty-five years ago.
Three citizens addressed council with complaints regarding condition of city streets after January 1 snowstorm and public safety issues.
Connie Romanus, Observer
The Peoria County Board of Election Commissioners met on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, with four members in person and Mark Keterer participating by phone. Contract negotiations for the new voting system were almost complete. The purchase passed two county committees unanimously, and the budget amendment allowing the purchase was to be voted on by the whole County Board on Thursday.
Most of the meeting was taken up by an explanation of the new County precinct boundaries. State law requires precincts to have approximately 1200 registered voters per precinct. This would result in a reduction from 169 precincts to 116 in the County. In addition to other considerations, there can be no crossing of township lines. Chillicothe and Elmwood will see no changes.
Staff was currently working on polling places, trying to make only small adjustments. They considered how much parking and how much equipment would be needed at each polling place due to larger numbers of registered voters.
The proposed precinct lines can be found on line at the County website 2020 Peoria County Board Redistricting (2022 Election) | Peoria County GIS (arcgis.com)
Irene Pritzker, Observer
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