The Peoria City Council Tuesday took a first step toward historic designation for the old Chase Bank building.
The block where the building sits had been in an urban industrial zone. That would have benefitted Caterpillar if it had built its new world headquarters there. With OSF HealthCare buying the property for its new ministries headquarters, it needed historic tax credits to make renovation financially possible.
The council voted unanimously to place the block in the Riveredge Redevelopment Zone. That is a first step toward historic designation.
State Representative and OSF Vice President Ryan Spain told the council redevelopment zones are important to preserving old buildings. “The Rivers (sic) Edge Redevelopment Zone continues to be a very powerful tool. It’s available to only a handful of communities in Illinois. And I know Peoria is taking very special advantage to make sure it’s a program that’s very strong and well utilized in our community.”
The state and federal governments must okay historic preservation before the property will qualify for historic tax credits. If granted, renovation of the Chase Bank building will begin this summer.
Council Considers Massage Establishment Registration
Businesses in Peoria that provide massages will soon be licensed. The city previously required registration of such businesses. It vacated that ordinance when the state in 2005 began requiring individuals who give massages to be licensed. The city council last night took a first look at the proposed new ordinance.
Assistant corporation counsel Chrissie Peterson says the licensing of massage establishments will help reduce human trafficking. “One area of importance in this particular ordinance includes a prohibition that anyone under the age of 18 unless they are actually licensed by the state of Illinois, is allowed to work in that facility. Numerous reports and various studies have shown that a lot of the human trafficking that’s occurred has been in individuals underage.
The council will vote on the proposal at its February 13th meeting. Businesses will have 90 days after that to register with the city.
City Looks to Remedy Food Deserts Created by Store Closings
Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis is talking with Kroger management about what options may be available in the aftermath of the closing of two Kroger stores.
Ardis says Kroger is firm in its decision to close the stores at Madison Park Shopping Center and on Wisconsin Avenue. The mayor is hopeful that something can be done with the Wisconsin Avenue store because Kroger owns that property. He is scheduled to talk with Kroger representatives later this week about a value-type store replacing the Kroger brand. Kroger’s value brand is called Ruler Foods.
During the regular Peoria City Council Meeting Tuesday, At-Large Peoria City Council Woman Beth Jensen suggested the mayor raise two other possibilities. “One, to see if they’d be willing to provide shuttle service for individuals on the Southside and east bluff to some of their other stores. Another that’s come up in some of my conversations is asking Kroger to provide delivery services for food, for groceries.”
Options at the Madison Park Shopping Center are more limited because Kroger does not own that property.
The Wisconsin Avenue store is also in the city of Peoria. The Harmon Highway location is in Peoria County. Kroger has also scaled back other plans to expand or build new stores. It’s part of what the company has referenced as a nationwide slowdown in construction.