Peoria prepares to turn former Simantel property into open space
Once a part of the proposed location for a controversial apartment complex, a parcel of land along the Illinois River owned by the City of Peoria soon will become park space.
The city is currently accepting bids to clear 2½ acres of trees and make other site improvements at the former Simantel property at the end of Spring Street.
“Really, what we're going to do is tear down the overgrowth that is on the property, clean that out,” said City Engineer Andrea Klopfenstein. “We're going to add some soil or fill on top of it, and then we will seed with grass seed, and there's one low area that will be seeded with a wetland mix. So it'll just be basically green space when we're done.”
The Simantel land has remained undeveloped since plans for the River Trails development complex fell through, and City Manager Patrick Urich notes the city’s need to create more green space dates back more than two decades.
Peoria received money from the federal Land And Water Conservation Fund grant program to buy property along the river in the 1990s. Urich said ever since the RiverPlex was built for the park district in 2001, Peoria has looked to replace that lost green space with open park land for perpetuity.
“We still had to complete this final settle up with the ‘LAW-Con’ grant with the Department of Interior and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, hence the reason why we acquired the Simantel property and we're looking at converting that property into an extension of the Riverfront Park,” said Urich.
“It will then also provide connectivity into the Detweiller Marina area on the other side. So overall, it's a nice addition to open space on the riverfront.”
The city previously budgeted $500,000 for the project and added another $250,000 from this year's budget. The ad for bids also calls for disposal of concrete and other miscellaneous debris, site grading, and pipe bollard protection. An optional pre-bid meeting is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the site, and the sealed bids will be opened a week later.
“Then we'll take the contract to council; if they approve it, then we would do all the paperwork needed to get bonds and then we would go into construction,” said Klopfenstein, adding the work should begin by the end of May with completion targeted for August.