Feb 23, 2008

Green Peoria


City staff have developed several plans for the consideration of the Citizens of Peoria, the Planning Commission and the Heart of Peoria Commission. All the documents are early drafts, and have not been adopted by City Council. Staff have presented the concept plans to numerous citizen groups, and the plans have been substantially revised as a result of extensive citizen input. Staff are asking for additional citizen input and Commission approval. Please send your thoughts and recommendations to Craighullinger@gmail.com

These plans can be considered for addition to the Comprehensive Plan and Heart of Peoria Plan.

These plans include:

1. Green Peoria Plan

2. Green Heart of Peoria Plan

3. River’s Edge Redevelopment Initiative

4. Green Edge

5. River Trail Drive



GREEN PEORIA / GREEN HEART OF PEORIA

The proposed Green Peoria / Green Heart of Peoria which would add "green" sustainable principles and goals to the Comprehensive Plan and Heart of Peoria Plan. Most of the principles are appropriate for the entire City and for the Heart of Peoria. These green goals include efforts to:

* Improve and Enhance our Environment
* Live Close to Downtown and the River
* Conserve Our Neighborhoods
* Encourage Sustainable Development
* Save Time and Energy - Walk to Work

Historic Peoria is an inherently "Green" City. Peoria was originally built at high density. Trips to work, shopping, and schools were made by walking or a short streetcar ride. The historic city was energy efficient.

Modern American urban development is auto oriented, with large homes on large lots distant from destinations. Modern suburban development is built at low density. Long auto trips waste a great deal of time and energy.

Our historic “Heart of Peoria has "hollowed out". Most retail has left downtown, and a great deal of near in housing has been demolished. Historic older buildings are often underutilized.

The following are potential improvements to "Green" the Heart of Peoria:

· Energy efficiency in all buildings is encouraged
· Developers are encouraged to create green housing
· Mixed use development will be emphasized
· Historic buildings will be adaptively reused
· Walk ability of the city will be encouraged
· Incentives will be employed to support improvements
· Energy efficient buildings will be required
· Sedimentation & erosion controls will be enforced
· The environment of the River's edge will be enhanced
· Bike trails & racks will be emphasized
· Transit will be maintained
· Trees and natural landscaping will be planted
· Renewable energy sources will be sought
· Recycling will be supported
· Air and water quality will be improved

More info at:

http://greenpeoria.blogspot.com

http://groups.google.com/group/green-edge



RIVER’S EDGE REDEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE

The River’s Edge Redevelopment Initiative would improve and enhance the appearance of the area along the Illinois River. A major industrial area known as Eagle View would be created at I-474 and the River, with a large open space known by the same name. Adams and Washington street would be improved, and the appearance substantially enhanced. The Warehouse District would be redeveloped into a vibrant mixed use area. Open space would be created where possible along the River. The City has created two new Tax Increment Financings Districts to help bring this redevelopment about. Six business owners have signed redevelopment agreements and improved their property, and numerous other business owners are considering redevelopments.

More info at:

http://www.eagleviewpeoria.blogspot.com/

http://www.warehousedistrict.blogspot.com/


GREEN EDGE PLAN

The Green Edge Plan covers the area along the Illinois River from the Riverplex and Washington Street. This plan envisions a public “Green Edge” along the river from Water Street to War Memorial Drive. Over time, the existing river edge can be converted to parks, a riverfront drive, and new residential development.

Currently this area is primarily industrial with two marinas and parks. This plan proposes that the entire rivers edge become a linear park with a scenic drive connecting from Water Street north to Grand View Drive, with new homes, additional public park land, beautification of the area, and enhancement to the natural ecosystem. Staff have proposed to the property owners that they donate the flood way area along the river. This land has little value to the owners, since it cannot be built on, and is a liability.

By donating the land the owners get a tax write off and good public relations. The Park District or IDNR could own this land. Land owners are also encouraged to donate an additional 50 feet, which would be right of way for the new road. The property owners would keep the adjacent land, which could be developed as mixed use development, and which would pay for the road. This plan will likely take many years to implement, but there is interest among some of the property owners. There is also some opposition. Implementation of this plan is completely voluntary - if the property owner do not like the plan, they do not have to implement it. That is why it will probably take many years to implement.

More info at: http://greenedgepeoria.blogspot.com/


RIVER TRAIL DRIVE PLAN

This can be described as the first phase of the Green Edge Plan, and would cover the City owned land from Spring Street south to Water Street.This plan would construct a road through the park parallel to the railroad tracks, providing access and parking to the park and attractive vistas over the Illinois River and Lake. It would also create residential property between the railroad tracks and new road, providing new housing in the Heart of Peoria. It would add security to the park, with homeowners watching the park.

To replace the approximately 7 acres used for the road and park, 7 acres of new ecosystem restoration park would be added from River sediment. This plan proposes two islands, one for wildlife habitat and one for pedestrian access. The interior lagoons would provide improved fishing and water bird habitat.

Environmental Groups have proposed two alternates to this plan. One would be to leave the park as it is presently configured. The other would be to build just the road, without the islands or housing.

If the City Council approves this plan a Request for Proposal (RFP) would be issued, and a quality developer sought to build the development.

Additional information and detailed maps can be reviewed at www.peoriaed.blogspot.com and http://www.greenpeoria.blogspot.com/

Questions or comments can be sent to Craig Hullinger at hullingerc@gmail.com.

Thank you for your review and interest.