Blighted former Harrison and McKinley schools on track for demolition later this year
Peoria's South Side could be rid of two major eyesores by the year's end.
The former McKinley school, 1201 W. Adrian G. Hinton Ave., and the old Harrison school at 2815 W. Krause Ave. have dodged the wrecking ball for years. After the properties were stripped of anything valuable, they fell into disrepair.
But the hollowed-out old school buildings managed to evade the demolition court process after Peoria Public Schools sold the buildings off by continually trading hands between private owners. Every private sale essentially reset the demo court cases.
The Peoria City Council has approved using $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to circumvent that process and bring down the blighted structures itself.
"Unfortunately, at this point, they're too far gone and (we) needed to step in to do something to really remove the the conditions both those properties are causing in our community," said Peoria Community Development Director Joe Dulin.
Dulin said a contractor is currently testing the buildings for asbestos, lead, and other potential environmental hazards. Those issues will need to be addressed prior to demolition, Dulin said.
"So we're hopefully, kind of fingers crossed that we can get all that accomplished in 2022. And we can get both properties down," he said.
He noted that all depends on what comes out of the environmental assessments, and contractor availability this year.
"I think both both properties have a lot of historical value to the community. So we're gonna make sure to try to preserve whatever we can, whether that's kind of some of the signage, the stonework, anything like that, to try to save it ,just from the historical standpoint," Dulin said. "It is sad to see two schools that people probably have really fond memories of get to this point, but really, for the betterment of the south end, they both need to come down."
Dulin said the current plan is to return the properties to green space following demolition, and to gather community input about future development.