A focus on attracting new development in downtown Peoria was a highlight of this year’s State of the City Address.
Mayor Jim Ardis says a new Downtown Development Corporation is in the works. The group will be charged with marketing the downtown to possible investors and developers.
Ardis says the city won’t be in charge of the entity, but will have a seat at the table as will the county, Caterpillar and other business leaders.
“(An) autonomous organization like this is going to have a...and does have a much easier time talking to potential private investors and developers and so on than going through the city bureaucracy. So they’ll marry potential investors with current property owners and others to bring projects forward at which time they’ll come to the city and work through the channels that they need to.”
Ardis says Peoria is likely the largest community in the U.S. that doesn’t have an organization dedicated to marketing the city’s urban core. He says the CEO Council and city have been working on the idea since the middle of last year. Fundraising efforts are also underway to hire an executive director for the corporation and for expenses related to the venture.
The Mayor also says he will be part of a new, yet unnamed-non-profit group made-up of mayors from similarly sized cities that will lobby the state on various issues. Education reform will be its focus.