Education
11:46 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Area Peoria Stadium residents oppose commercial development proposal

The District 150 School Board heard from residents against a proposal from Wal-Mart to redevelop the historic Peoria Stadium property.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports: 
 The District owns the 80-acre stadium site, and the Peoria Park District leases about 30 acres to use for softball diamonds.  The proposal has the District selling some or all of the stadium property to Wal-Mart through the city.  District 150 Treasurer Dave Kinney says the District is looking at creative ways to generate additional revenue amid unpredictable state and federal funding:

“And certainly one of the ideas of a potential commercial development is it would generate potentially some long-term property tax revenue,” Kinney says.

Kinney also says the Stadium is also facing declining attendance and costly repairs.  About 75 people packed the School Board meeting room last night to oppose the idea of commercial re-development.  Johnny Wheat is president of the Oak Park Homeowners Association:

“We believe that the loss of this green-space area and historic stadium in the centre of a residential area would have a permanent negative and costly effect on peoria and its image of a park-friendly city, far-outweighing the temporary fix of District 150 of infusing their budget with a bit of cash,” Wheat says. 

Other residents expressed concern of increased traffic and noise and decreasing property values if the land was re-developed.  No final decisions were made, and public input meetings on the issue could be held in the coming months.