Peoria is Looking Good

I copied this from the urbanophile  


They write great anlysis of midwest cities, but usually don't cover smaller cities the size of Peoria. Note his comment abuut Peoria, which I am pleased to highlight. And I have invited the editor to visit Peoria, and he indicates that he will.

Best Performing Cities

The Milken Institute released their rankings of the best performing cities of 2009. Their index “ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. The components include job, wage and salary and technology growth.”

Austin, Texas was #1 in America. Here is how the large Midwest metros stacked up. On this one, a higher rank is better, like a normal league table. The ranking is out of the 200 largest metro areas. You know your region is struggling when it can’t crack the top 50. (In fairness, Peoria, a city I generally don’t cover, was #33)

* #52 – Kansas City
* #108 – Columbus
* #109 – Pittsburgh
* #123 – Minneapolis-St. Paul
* #125 – Indianapolis
* #128 – St. Louis
* #138 – Cincinnati
* #148 – Chicago
* #151 – Milwaukee
* #153 – Louisville
* #186 – Cleveland
* #199 – Detroit


 The Peoria area can add yet another top notch national ranking to its resume. The Milken Institute has ranked Peoria the 33rd Best-Performing City in the country.


The University of Illinois provides assistance in local government economic development efforts.




350,000 to 500,000 Sq Ft Building Needed

DCEO sent EDC a lead for a building.

Please let EDC know if you know of any appropriate building. 

An industrial broker in the Chicago area has requested assistance with the following project outlined below.

  • Building size ~ 350,000 - 500,000 SF
  • Site size ~ 50 - 100 acres
  • Crane coverage ~ Approximately 50%
  • Height under hook ~ 30 feet
  • Minimum bridge crane capacity ~ 40 tons
  • Rail ~ To site at grade
  • United States or Mexico preferred
  • No time for “build to suit” options
  • Timeline - negotiate lease in December for March followed by installation of equipment beginning in April and operational later in 2010; willing to lease or purchase
  • Power - the power installed for the last user should work well

Beth Kolowski
The Economic Development Council for Central Illinois
A company of The Heartland Partnership
100 SW Water Street
Peoria, IL  61602-1329
309-495-5973 - Office
309-256-9011 - Cell


Downtown Nashville - Downtown Peoria

Downtown Nashville has a great entertainment district. It looks a lot like Peoria, with the Main Street cascading down to the River. Of course, it is a much larger city and region, but it has the kind of dynamism that we would like to build in downtown Peoria.




Click on the plan above to make it larger.

I like one page poster plans. A simple graphic, a brief summary of the plan, and a link to the internet where the plan is explained in more depth is a simple and effective way to provide information to citizens about plans.

Most people don't have the time or interest to read a long plan. The one page summary provides most of what most people want to know, with an explanation on line that provides more information for those who want to know more about the plan.

Beth Ruyle and Craig Hullinger AICP have completed our first week as partners in our new consulting firm, Ruyle Hullinger and Associates. So far, so good, although Beth misses her coworkers at Ehlers and I miss mine at the City of Peoria.

The economy is of course very tough. And it will take time to develop a client base. But I first started a full time consulting practice in 1982, and the economy was very bad then. I was still able to build the practice.


Thanks for the Past Four Years

Thanks for a great retirement party yesterday, and for making my tour of duty with the City very interesting and rewarding. I thoroughly enjoyed working for the City, and look forward to continuing to help the economic development and improvement of the City and the region as a citizen volunteer.

I believe we made the city a little better with our efforts to revitalize the Heart of Peoria. Many more projects are in the works, and will be developed in the next few years as we come out of the Great Recession.


My new phone number is 309 634 5557

My email remains the same


My wife Beth Ruyle and I are starting a small consulting firm in Peoria.

Read all about it at:


Pronounced Ru, hu, 1 , 2

I will keep all the Peoria Blogs that I have started up as a public service.

I will continue to post to the blogs under:





Craig Hullinger AICP retires 6 November 2009. This is the summary of the turn over file. The Department has outstanding people - three economic development specialists and an administrative assistant.

Feel free to call or email anytime:

309 634 5557 Hullingerc@gmail.com http://ruhu12.com/

Susan Schlupp has 11 years total with the department during two different periods, and 16 years total with the city. She has the most knowledge of Economic Development in the city, and is the senior person in the department.

w 309 494 8644 c 309 453 6843

Bobby Gray has over 3 years with the Department and 5 with the city. He is very capable. He has a very substantial knowledge of the city, and is the second senior specialist in the department.

w 309 494 8641 c 309 645 5744

Rachael Parker has 3 years with the Department and 8 years with the EDC. She has an excellent retail and regional economic development background, and manages our loan programs and Enterprise Zone.

w 309 494-8646 c 309 645-0547

Stephanie Grayson Doss is our administrator, also working as a Development Specialist with 5 years with the department. She has an excellent knowledge of the city, public relations, and marketing.

w 309 494 8641 c 309 472 1335


Susan Schlupp is the lead specialist for a number of programs, including:
Real Estate Management
Project Management
Business Retention & Financial Incentive Programs
Enterprise Zone – Sales Tax, Property Tax Abatement, DZO


Bobby Gray is the lead specialist a number of programs, including:
Southern Gateway
Hotel and Hospitality Improvement Zone
Renaissance Park


Rachael Parker is the lead specialist a number of programs, including:
Façade Programs
Business Development Loans
Opportunity Center Project – Mixed Use Incubator
Impact Zones (School / Neighborhoods)
Enterprise Zone – Sales Tax


Stephanie Grayson Doss is the lead on
Commission & Committees


Susan Schlupp

Real Estate Management
Council Exec sessions buy and sell real estate
Developer recruitment
Lawcon Grant – land replacement
Business Retention
Financial Incentive Programs
Developer recruitment
Advertising Enterprise Zone
Sales Tax, Property Tax,

Bobby Gray

Taft Redevelopment
Rivertrail Drive
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) – All ten
Southern Gateway
New Market Tax Credits
Hotel Improvements
Sustainable Development Park Green Energy Grants
Rachael Parker
Enterprise Zone
Sales Tax
Façade Programs
Business Development Loans
Opportunity Center Project – Mixed Use Incubator
Impact Zones (Sc
-hool / Neighborhoods) Retail Site Marketing Grants

Save The Date December 7, 2009 2:00 pm


The Commission on Sustainability and Green Technology will present their reports to Mayor Ardis and the City Council at the Peoria Sustainability Forum. The meeting will be held Monday December 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm at the Gateway Building.
The report will outline the work of the five Committees who have studied how to "green" our city and region. Short presentations from each committee chair will be made.
Everyone interested in this issue is invited to attend.


40 Leaders Under 40 Honored

Congratulations to the 40 leaders under 40 recognized last night, especially our leaders in Economic Development and Government:

Chris Setti - City of Peoria



Jessica Moroz - Heartland EDC



Scott Sorrel - County of Peoria



Jennifer Daley - Morton Economic Development Council



Pamela Anderson - City of Pekin



More info at:




New Market Tax Credits

Some Good News from Vice President Jerome Sullivan of the Great Lakes Capital Fund.

Great Lakes Capital Fund is a not for profit organization that applied for New Market Tax Credits to assist the Build the Block and Hotel projects in Peoria

They received $26,000,000 in New Market Tax Credits. Mr Sullivan will advise the city on the next steps.

The general guidelines are driven by the requirements of the U. S. Treasury department. Great Lakes Capital will use the New Markets Tax Credit allocation to provide a below market interest rate (and interest only) loan for 7 years. Final pricing will be determined based upon future interest rates but rates currently would be fixed at 3% to 4% interest rate.

Additionally, Great Lakes would allow for higher Loan to Value levels.

Downtown Peoria fits most of the categories below:

1) Projects are located in Low Income Communities. These are generally Census Tracts that are eligible for Community Development Block Grants funds.

2) serve low-income residents… i.e. if a project isn’t located in a LI Census Tract, but will provide jobs, goods & services to Low Income Residents, that could qualify as well

3) create jobs (esp. jobs for low income residents). A manufacturing operation that relocates to a LI Census Tract (or expands its facility that’s already in a LI area, would be a prime investment). Hotels provide jobs, neighborhood shopping centers provide jobs, goods & services, … etc.

4) revitalize low income communities (i.e. a mixed use project in a neighborhood or small town commercial district .. commercial 1st floor & apartments above).

5) Green developments (LEED certified and/or Alternative Energy projects)

6) Rural developments

7) At least $5 million in Total Dev. Costs



The City of Peoria has many quality sculptures. The City is also leading the expansion of “Green” Technology and Sustainability. A Green Sculpture Park could be developed that would be artistic and “green”, incorporating recycled materials, wind and solar energy, etc. into the design.

A program modeled on the successful Sioux Falls, South Dakota program could be created.
www.sculpturewalksiouxfalls.com . Each year new sculptures are displayed in downtown for one year, and become a tourist attraction. After one year the sculptures are replaced by new sculptures. The sculptures are for sale and people vote for their favorite.

The Civic Center could sponsor this event, with sculptures mounted in Civic Center green space. As the event grew it could cascade down Fulton and on to the Build the Block Campus. http://buildtheblock.com.

The sculptures would be a major tourist attraction.

The Green Sculpture Park Could start small on the green space at the Civic Center, then expand down Fulton Street to Build the Block and the River.

125,000 Square Foot Building To Purchase

We have had an inquiry for a 125,000 sq. ft. building to purchase that is currently office space or something that can EASILY be retrofitted to office space. That is all we know.

If you know of a building that would work, please contact Beth Kolowski at The Economic Development Council for Central Illinois

The Heartland Partnership
100 SW Water Street
Peoria, IL 61602-1329
309-495-5973 - Office
309-256-9011 - Cell

The EDC for Central Illinois is now on FACEBOOK! Join Facebook and become an EDC fan today.



The City Council of Peoria has approved three tax increment financing districts in the last two and one half years. A total of seventeen (17) buildings have been approved for development or redevelopment in the three new and one existing TIF’s.

Total investment in the buildings will be approximately $178,000,000, creating over 1,000 jobs.

This during the “Great Recession”.
And there are many more buildings in the works.

* Buildings Completed *

Warehouse TIF

LaVille De Maillet, L.L.C. *

JP Riverfront Development Comp, Inc. (Sullivan) Sealtest

Iron Front, L.L.C., (Huber) 408 Washington

Iron Front, L.L.C., (Huber) 412 Washington

Iron Front, L.L.C., (Huber) 420 Washington

Edgewater Building (Huber) River

Fastenal Company *

Drumheller Properties L.L.C *

D & B Developers, L.L.C. (Waterstreet Solutions)

B & L Sales *

Southtown TIF

Illinois Medical Clinic *
Long Term Acute Health Care Facility Cullinan *


HIZ Pere Marquette Mariott Hotel


Behr Peoria, Inc. *

Martco, LTD (Laser Electric) *
Pulaski Express/Adams Street Supermarket *

JWE Properties/Engler Meier & Justice (Westmont) *