Amid Heavy Public Opposition, City Extends River Trail Apartment Contract

Jun 28, 2017

The Peoria City Council Tues. voted to approve an extension of a contract with the developer of the proposed River Trail Apartments.

But it came after 11 citizens spoke against the project, while no member of the public spoke in favor.

Newly-elected councilman Zach Oyler was originally opposed to extending the agreement, when he campaigned for office. But he changed his mind after studying the issue. He says he feels the land designated as a replacement was superior to the land lost to the apartments.

Credit Google Maps

“You can’t crate land like that finger that goes out into the river that will be cleaned up and turned into a path and have areas for usage that the citizens will be able to spend time on,” Oyler said. 

For the proposed River Trail Apartment project to move forward, the National Park Service must approve a swap of park land along Peoria’s riverfront. That approval has not yet occurred. That in turn required the city council to vote on an extension of the agreement with the developer, which was set to expire Fri. 

“This takes away the very surroundings, aesthetic values and beauty that makes the current riverfront trail the gem that it is, " Joyce Blumenshine, of the Sierra Club, said. 

Why go forward with something that is risky? I say risky because this will not be a good place to live," Mike Rucker, of the Friends of the Rock Island Trail, said.

"It’s an industrial site. We only have two parks down there. Morton Square Park and the Rivertrail  Park. Those individuals in that part of town, they don’t have a whole lot. That’s the only place they can come and go to recreate,” Peoria Park District trustee Robert Johnson said.

The council approval extends the agreement to the end of the year. The vote was 6-to-4 with council members Beth Akeson, Chuck Grayeb, Beth Jensen and Jim Montelongo voting no.