Efforts to build an apartment complex on park land along Peoria’s riverfront will continue for another six months.
The Peoria City Council last night voted seven-to-four to extend an agreement with the developers of Rivertrail Apartments. This is the sixth agreement as the city attempts to get state and federal approval for a land swap.
Federal funds were used to obtain the park land. The purchase agreement stipulated that equivalent replacement land must be found before any private project can move forward on park land. First district councilwoman Denise Moore asked fellow council members to ignore the pleas of those opposed to the development.
“Please don’t let what I call drive-by activism by some who have no real interest in this area choke off much development in this part of the first district. Change is hard," Moore said. "Novel approaches to old problems is jarring. Voting for the betterment of Peoria should be easy.”
Progress has been slowed as the National Park Service has not approved the city’s proposed land swap. Council members voting against the extension were Beth Akeson, Chuck Grayeb, Beth Jensen and Jim Montelongo.
Council member Beth Jensen mentioned several reasons why the council should vote against any extension of the agreement.
"CAT is no longer developing their world headquarters downtown. We have had a lot more development in the warehouse district as I’ve reiterated, that’s where our focus should be," Jensen said. "And we’re facing a much different budget that we were three years ago. We do not have the money. I don’t think we should be spending $4.5-million to build a road to this apartment complex.