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$3.3 million in improvements announced for Peoria street lighting

Gordon-Booth and Mayor Ali Lights Announcement.jpg
Collin Schopp
State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, left, and Peoria Mayor Rita Ali this week announced a series of lighting improvements for all five districts in Peoria.

Street lighting projects totaling $3.3 million are set to brighten the sidewalks of Peoria.

At a news conference on Monday, Peoria Mayor Rita Ali and State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, announced the project. Of the total, $2.5 million comes from a state grant, while $800,000 comes from remaining American Rescue Plan Act funds and $90,000 from local motor fuel tax funds.

“We know that folks that want to do harm to our communities typically don't like to do it in a well-lit area,” said Gordon-Booth. “We also know that unifying a community with ornamental and importantly, smart street lighting, we know that this adds to the overall morale of the residents in that area.”

The project will replace rotting wood poles and inefficient lighting with metal or concrete poles and LED lighting. Ali said it also provides an opportunity to update the lights later with “smart” features.

SW Adams and Garden Street Light Post.jpg
Collin Schopp
Rotting wooden poles like this one near the Garden Street and SW Adams intersection will be replaced with long lasting concrete or metal poles and LED lights.

“There are progressive cities that have used technology in a variety of ways; some use it for Wi-Fi,” said Ali. “ It can also be used for technology that tracks traffic that collects data that can be used for events, for traffic purposes, for public safety or crime related issues.”

The projects will span all five districts in Peoria.

“We've been hearing about this for some time, the need for better lighting,” said 2nd District council member Chuck Grayeb. “And so finally, we had the funds to really do it on a much grander level than we've been able to in the past.”

At-large council member Beth Jensen agreed that lighting updates are a frequent request.

“I'm all over the city, walking and driving,” she said. “And I noticed that and for me, myself, it makes me feel safer when there’s good lighting.”

Aside from city council and neighborhood meetings, lighting also is regularly presented as a crime prevention measure at Safety Network meetings.

“This aligns, you know, with some of the recommendations that we've had within Safety Network,” said Ali, who runs the monthly meetings. “And within the leadership of Peoria in terms of gun violence reduction, crime reduction, this is a perfect alignment to help support those recommendations.”

The cost and location of the projects are as follows:

District 1: $1.05 million

Concrete poles replaced on SW Adams near Garden and Adams intersection.

Additional lighting near MLK Park and MacArthur Highway.

District 2: $470,000

Additional porch and alley lighting in the Orchard district, near Flora, Ellis and Elizabeth streets.

Replacement of concrete poles in the Sheridan Triangle and metal poles at Washington and Hamilton.

District 3: $870,000

Road and lighting improvements on Glen Avenue, from Sheridan to Knoxville.

Improved lighting in the Prospect Road business district.

District 4: $500,000

Improved lighting near Mark Bills Middle School, from Andover to Creighton Terrace.

District 5: $500,000

Improved pedestrian lighting on sidewalks in Willow Knolls, from University to Allen.

Community development director Joseph Dulin said that there’s no definitive timeline for the projects yet, but construction is expected to start “soon.”

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Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.