THINK ABOUT IT A healthy Downtown Peoria with as many residents and jobs as it can hold is good for more than just the taxpayers who live and work there, argue some of its inhabitants. Peoria has a 50-square-mile footprint for 113,000 people. Minneapolis’ 57 square miles are home to 425,000, San Francisco’s 47 square miles to 815,000, Manhattan’s 24 square miles to 1.6 million. Every time Peoria grows further into a cornfield, its taxpayers/ ratepayers get the bill for sewer and water pipes, roads and sidewalks and street lights, police and fire protection. The costs are ongoing, the return on investment questionable. Meanwhile, for Ardor Breads & Provisions owner Cody Scogin, Downtown represents the convenience of jumping on I-74 for his thrice weekly pastry run to Rivian in Normal. “Business is good and I’m happy here,” and he’s expanding to boot. For Venue Chisca/Heaven on Earth owner Michelle Spurgeon, it’s the incomparable history and

arguably you have a self-interest in a flourishing Downtown Peoria. “Downtown is fundamentally the face of the region,” said Sehring, whose OSF has done so much to try to resurrect its fortunes. “A vibrant Downtown is critical to attracting investments, expanding employment opportunities, and recruiting highly skilled workers to the region. This is important to major employers … Growth helps real estate, supports services and improves the overall quality of our communities. “In short, if downtown Peoria isn't as successful as it can be, then greater central Illinois won't be as successful as it can be, either.” Peoria City Hall wants to hear from you! Email your feedback on making Downtown a livelier place to Mike Bailey is editor in chief of Peoria Magazine. Also contributing were Linda Smith Brown, Lisa Coon, Scott Fishel, Phil Luciano, Steve Stein and Steve Tarter

architecture. “What I like about being down here is that these old buildings are being preserved … So many of them have been torn down … They just can’t build them like this anymore.” For others, the Sculpture Walk and colorful murals courtesy of Big Picture Initiative and others that have blossomed Downtown have very much brightened the predominantly brown-and-gray landscape. For attorney C. Edwin Walker, it’s the scenery from his 17th floor office: “I’m not giving that up for anything.” For Adam White, “coming Downtown was the right decision.” For Pat Sullivan, “the Downtown’s tried and true. Everything’s cyclical. It will come back. We want to be here when it does.” For John Morris, “I think we’re in a period of resurgence Downtown, not decline.” Central Illinois brags many unique downtowns, but say the word “Downtown” hereabouts and everybody knows you’re referring to what Spain calls “the Mother Ship." Google “Peoria area” and what comes up is that distinctive skyline. No matter where you live in this part of central Illinois,


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