People and Pocket Parks Play in Peoria


The Pocket Park program revitalizes neighborhoods by taking vacant land and planting trees, flowers, and shrubs. The layout of the parks are carefully planned with the neighborhood associations. The parks restore a sense of pride and communal worth through beautification.

Five Pocket Parks have been completed during past nine months. Councilman Clyde Gully and Economic Development staff supervised the development. Each of the neighborhood association members volunteered their time. A large group of about 30 individuals from Bradley University, (students, faculty, friends and family) under the guidance of Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji also volunteered their services to complete these parks. The community effort paid off for five different neighborhoods, making the City of Peoria an even nicer place to live, work and play.

People and Pocket Parks Play in Peoria


President Obama Home & Our Home

Compare the home of President and Michelle Obama with the home of Beth Ruyle Hullinger and Craig Hullinger. The homes are similar, except that the President
and his wife reportedly paid $1,650,000 for their Chicago home, while my wife and I bought ours in Peoria for $245,000.
Guess which one is which? Answer on the bottom:

Advantage Peoria!!

Move to Peoria, Illinois

Great City - Great Housing Values - Play in Peoria

Ruyle Hullinger home
423 High Street, Peoria, Illinois

Located in the High Wine District across from Giant Oak Park, this Colonial Revival home was built around the turn of the century. On the ridge of the Illinois River, it overlooks downtown Peoria and the University of Illinois Medical Campus.

In the 1890's, a railroad agent and the treasurer of a local industry lived in the house. Later, the home was a boarding house and a halfway house for some years. It is reputed to be occupied by a ghost. The home was restored near its 100 year anniversary by Jack and Cathy Empson. Renovation was continued by the current owners, Beth Ruyle and Craig Hullinger in 2006.

The existing, original slate roof is moderately pitched and hipped, with a ridge. Classic one story fluted columns support the full length porch. Brick walls are edged with quoins. The interior boasts extensive stained woodwork and marble floors.

Nestled between Peoria's picturesque West Bluff and energetic Main Street, High Street offers its residents and visitors a vibrant and elegant slice of historical significance. From the mammoth Easton house (now Converse Marketing) gracing the entrance to the renovated Greenhut mansion (now Bobbitt's Historical Quarters) at the foot, the magic of High Street has survived the years and resonates today.

Once dubbed "High Wine Avenue," High Street housed many of the original Peoria whiskey barons, including Joseph Greenhut, president and founder of The Distillers and Cattle Feeders Company. In the mid-1880's, an era before income tax, fortunes were spent on homes, massive legacies that still stand today. The expanse of Peoria's whisky riches is showcased in the diverse and ornate architecture of High Street. During this golden age of Peoria history, the city established itself as the distillery capital of the world; High Street housed the city's exclusive nouveau riche, the properties offering both seclusion and breathtaking views. Each owner hired the services of individual architects, and thus High Street boasts styles ranging from Georgian and Gothic Revival, to Queen Anne and Flemish Revival.

This combination of porticos, cupolas, latticework, leaded windows, and arches creates an eclectic presence unique to High Street.Today High Street is home to artists, writers, politicians and families interested in living a piece of history. Many of the mansions have been restructured into apartments, and few single-family houses remain. A restoration revival swept the street in the late 1980's and early 1990's when owners began working with the city to uphold historical standards in the renovations.

On any summer day, visitors stroll the street, taking in the majestic homes and lush landscaping. Trolleys and tour buses creep along while tourists snap photos. Children and lovers alike hide within the limbs of the ancient oak tree at Giant Oak Park. Once the most exclusive residential street in Peoria, High Street continues to give citizens a taste of Peoria's past.

Beth and Craig Hullinger home is the bottom photo.


Bauer Power is a great new company that just moved in to Peoria. They provide wind and solar power installations. Check them out at.

Long Term Acute Care Center

The Long Term Acute Care Center is under construction in the Southtown TIF, just south of downtown. This quality facility will nicely compliment our downtown hospitals.

Accomplishments FY 2008 To Date

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Economic Development is to foster economic growth and an improved quality of life by supporting existing businesses, encouraging business expansion, pursuing new business opportunities, and supporting community revitalization and growth.

Fiscal 2008 Accomplishments To Date

Completed studies for the Hospitality Improvement Zone (HIZ) for a new Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) and a Business Development District (BDD).
Completed concept plans for River Trail Drive, received unanimous approval from the Heart of Peoria Commission, the Planning Commission, and the City Council. Seeking developers now.
Completed the Green Edge Plan and the Cascade Plan calling for redevelopment and improvement of the Riverfront north of downtown.

Stimulated economy through the retention/creation of 525 jobs and $4,354,253 in private investment from existing/new businesses through Enterprise Zone.
Two new homes constructed for a total of $411,092 in private investment during Phase III of Spring Grove residential development.

Renewed exemptions for 374 parcels of City owned property.
Continued to lead the redevelopment of Renaissance Park

Issued Private Activities Bonds to the First Time Homebuyer’s Program to allow 186 families to purchase of homes totaling more than $15.5 million.

Allocated $92,000 in public funds through the Fa├žade Improvement Program to leverage $260,000 in private investment for the revitalization of the West Main Street, Sheridan and Prospect Form Districts.

Completed three Enterprise Expansion Applications to assist existing businesses.

Partnered with local employers, realtors, and lenders to create a homebuyer’s incentive program for inner city revitalization.

Formed the Hospitality Improvement Zone TIF and Hospitality Improvement Business District to assist in the improvement of downtown hotels and business.

Completed two redevelopment agreements within the City’s 9 Tax Increment Financing Districts for investment totaling $9.5 million.

Met with 125 developers to promote Peoria and encourage redevelopment within the City.

1.5 Hour Drive from Peoria

Approximate area within 1.5 hour drive of Peoria.
(If you drive the speed limit, as we all do.)


Trot for Tots

A group of local Peoria citizens have organized the 2nd Annual ‘Trot for Tots’ run. The two-mile fun run will take place just prior to the annual Santa Claus Parade on Friday, November 28, 2008, in Downtown Peoria.
The purpose of the run is to raise awareness and increase participation in the Tri-county area’s Toys for Tots campaign led by the Marines of Company C, 6th Engineer Support Battalion based in Peoria, IL.

Scheduled to start just prior to the Peoria Santa Claus Parade, the oldest continuous Christmas Parade in the Nation, runners will trace the parade route through downtown Peoria along an established 2-mile course before an anticipated crowd of 25,000 to 35,000 spectators.

Sign up today to come be a part of something big! A premier running event to support this year’s Marine Toys for Tots Campaign, the 2nd Annual ‘Trot for Tots’ run.

School Athletic Teams and ROTC programs are encouraged to run as teams. There is no charge for School and ROTC Teams, but we do request that all student runners fill out an entry form signed by their parent or guardian.

For more information, write to:


More info at:


Pastoral Center - Great New Addition to Peoria

The Pastoral Center on Monroe and Spaulding is nearing completion. A beautiful addition to our City. Nice Web Cam to look at progress on the building.


Lots of fun events on the Peoria Riverfront.
Check them out at:


Request for Proposals (RFP) City of Peoria

Request for Proposals (RFP) for Development of City of Peoria property can be found at:


We have some tremendous opportunities available on the Peoria Waterfront and in the Warehouse District for new urban and green development. Enterprise Zone and TIF incentives available.


Turner Center for Entrepreneurship

The Turner Center for Entrepreneurship is a great asset for Peoria. The not-for-profit program is located at Bradley University. They provide business counseling, technical assistance, training, and educational activities for individuals interested in owning their own businesses.


And of course Bradley University is a great institution. We appreciate their efforts. Read all about Bradley at:


Peoria and Comparsion Cities

The table below compares Peoria to some similar cities. The data is somewhat old, from the 2000 census and 2003 estimates. The data shows the relatively high percentage of our citizens who have BA degrees. It also shows the relatively high rate of poverty. This illustrates the need for continued economic development efforts to provide good jobs for our less fortunate residents.



Congratulations to all who have worked to make Peoria a better and easier place to do business.

Inc.com, the Daily Resource for Entrepreneurs, has given Peoria it's highest rating in Illinois, substantially higher than our major competitors.

Peoria moved up 208 positions from the last rating to number 83. Chicago and St Louis dropped in the ratings to 241 and 257.


Contact Peoria Economic Development for information:

309 494 8640

Heart of the Heartland






If the Midwest is the Heartland of America, then Peoria and Central Illinois are the “Heart of the Heartland”. Our region is midway between Chicago and St. Louis. We are smaller and less congested. Our rush hour is the "Rush Minute", compared to our larger neighbors.

We have a high quality workforce. We are served by miles of free uncongested interstate highways and major railroads. We welcome new developments and industries. You can drive to destinations anywhere in the United States without traffic jams and their cost and aggravation.

We are easy to work with and offer a pleasant atmosphere in which to conduct business. In many cases you can meet directly with the Mayor and City Council to discuss your development and needs.

This region is the Heart of America’s Heartland. Our crime rate is low and we offer great school systems, low taxes, and affordable housing for your employees. For those seeking higher education, the region offers several universities and colleges.

We offer numerous economic development incentives, including Tax Increment Financing, Enterprise Zones, Port Districts, HUB Zones, Foreign Free Trade Zones, low interest loans, and many other incentive programs.

All of this makes the “Heart of the Heartland” a wonderful place to live and conduct business.

Contact the City of Peoria Economic Development Department at:

419 Fulton Street Suite 402

Peoria, IL 61602

Phone; 309-494-8640 Fax: 309-494-8650


Peoria RiverFront Lofts Open for Public Tours

News Release

Peoria RiverFront Lofts Open for Public Tours

PEORIA, IL - Ever wonder what the interiors of some of those beautiful Peoria RiverFront lofts look like? The Peoria RiverFront Association is now offering the opportunity for people to see for themselves.

Ten riverfront lofts at 401 Water, Waterfront Place and the Maxam Quarters will be open for tours on Sunday, October 5. Hours are from 2 p.m. to 5.pm. Tours can begin at any of the three building sites, and volunteer guides are stationed in each condominium to answer questions.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 the day of the event. Tickets are available at the Shops at 401 Water, Illinois Antique Center, the Riverfront Visitors Center, the Riverfront Market or by calling 671-5555.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Peoria RiverFront Association.

Enterprise Zone

The City of Peoria Enterprise Zone provides a number of incentives to encourage industrial and commercial development. The most important incentive is that sales tax is not paid on building material purchased for an industrial and commercial development in the zone. This saves the developer 8% on material, and helps to encourage redevelopment in Peoria - development that might otherwise go to "green grass" sites with lower development costs.

The one time cost to the City and State helps create a long term investment that pays property, sales, and utility taxes while creating jobs and helping revitalize the older portions of the City. The attached spread sheet shows the quick payback for a typical Enterprise Zone incentive.


More information on the Enterprise Zone on the page below:


DCEO - State of Illinois Information

DECO - Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, State of Illinois

Your DCEO Opportunity Returns North Central Team want to keep you update on important upcoming events and opportunities. Please review all the attachments.

· DCEO-EDC Financial Forum – 2008

Is an interactive community forum hosted by the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in partnership with the Economic Development Council of the Bloomington-Normal Area. It will feature local, state and federal experts discussing financing options for businesses, municipalities and not-for-profits. Please view the attachment above.




The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is announcing the release of the Fiscal Year 2009 Request for Application (RFA) for the High Technology School to Work Grant Program. The goal of the High Technology School to Work Program is to improve education and to prepare Illinois’ students to transition from school to high skilled, high paying jobs in the areas of science, mathematics, and advanced technology. Increasing the number of trained students entering technology occupations will help meet the workforce demand of Illinois’ high technology businesses. The High Technology School-to-Work Program (20 ILCS 701/) provides grants to consortia of high technology businesses and local schools. Projects are designed by partnerships among employers, employer associations, and schools to provide youth with work experience in high technology occupations, combined with closely related classroom instruction.


As a means of ensuring that businesses play a central role in the identification of skill requirements and curricula design, the Department will only accept applications from private sector employers, or employer-based intermediary organizations. Employer-based intermediary organizations include industry associations and chambers of commerce. The application must demonstrate that a strong and cooperative relationship exists between the grantee and the school(s) that represent the educational side of the partnership. The partnership must be employer-led and designed to respond to the high technology skill requirements of participating employers.


Printed copies of the application are available upon request. Questions pertaining to this program should be directed to John Barr, Bureau of Technology and Industrial Competitiveness, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, 100 West Randolph Suite 3-400, Chicago, IL 60601, Telephone: (312) 814-2259 or via e-mail:
john.w.barr@illinois.gov .

Anthony Rolando
Senior Account Manager
North Central Region
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
opportunity returns
Pekin Office
111 S. Capitol
Pekin, Illinois 61554
Canton Office
2 N. Main, First Floor
Canton, Ilinois 61520
Office: 309-647-5896
Mobile: 309-338-4191
Fax: 309-647-9325



Firefly Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Congratulations to Firefly, who held their World Headquarters Dedication Ceremony on August 12th! They celebrated the tireless efforts put forth by the community and Firefly employees with the official dedication of their new 40,000 square foot building. The ceremony was attended by some of Illinois’ most prominent political and community leaders.

Work Trip Travel Times - Advantage Peoria

Work Trip Travel Times - Minutes
Advantage Peoria

Chicago___ 31.3

Peoria ____19.7

St Louis ___25.5

Tired of the rat race of large metro areas?

Move your business and home to Peoria, the second largest metro area in Illinois, but much smaller and more convenient then Chicago or St. Louis.


Great Scoop at Peoria Magazines

Extra, Extra, read all about it. Great Scoop at Peoria Magazines

"New capital campaign dubbed “Build the Block!” The goal is to raise $8 million and the public awareness needed to bring the Peoria Riverfront Museum and adjacent Caterpillar Visitor Center to fruition. For more information about the project, visit
The City of Peoria, in conjunction with major area employers including Caterpillar Inc., Bradley University, Methodist Medical Center and OSF Saint Francis, is looking for ways to increase home ownership rates to stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods in the Heart of Peoria. Take the Peoria Urban Living Initiative Survey to weigh in and help the team understand how people make home-buying decisions. Visit


Major Improvements in Peoria


Many good things are happening in Peoria.
Some of them are listed below:

Illinois Medical Center Clinic under construction

OSF Children’s Hospital under construction

Methodist Hospital Expansion under construction

Illinois Eye Center

Long Term Acute Care Hospital under construction

Heart Care Midwest

Eight TIF incented redevelopments underway

Developed the Form Based Code

Continued marketing campaign for Renaissance Park

Demolished Sears Block for Caterpillar Visitor Center and new Museum

Major Bradley University expansion underway

Continued Commercial Expansion at Grand Prairie

New Comprehensive Plan under development

Creating a new Sustainable Development Program

Developed the Innovation Center to Expand High Tech Businesses

Implemented the Renaissance Park, Heart of Peoria and Vision 2020 Plan

Prepared the Warehouse District and Eagle View redevelopment plans

Developed the Prospect and Sheridan Road Revitalization Plan

Assisted the start up of Globe Energy, Drumheller Bag and Firefly

Peoria Glen Oak Zoo Expansion Underway

Three New Schools planned with Neighborhood Improvements