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East Peoria has several major infrastructure improvement projects in the works

The East Peoria City Council on Tuesday approved a $9.3 million bid from Patrick N. Meyer and Associates for improvements to Springfield Road.
Patrick N. Meyer and Associates
The East Peoria City Council on Tuesday accepted a $9.3 million bid from Patrick N. Meyer and Associates to provide engineering services for improvements to Springfield Road.

The city of East Peoria is getting the ball rolling on several major infrastructure projects.

Monday night, commissioners approved the first reading of ordinances supporting construction projects in East Peoria. If approved, the city would contract engineering firm Midwest Engineering, Inc. to tackle some key projects.

Those projects include improving the Camp Street and Riverside Drive intersection and repairing the Veterans Drive bridge. They also include reconstructing the East Washington Street ADA ramps from Mall Street to Division Street and sidewalk improvements at the Mall and East Washington intersection.

Commissioner Sutherland asked whether the bridge was getting repairs or a complete replacement. Midwest Engineering Associates, Inc. Vice President Robert Culp explained why repairing the bridge is more cost-effective.

“For the rate of return on investment, we could probably get another 10 to 20 years on the repairs we are doing,” Culp said. “That’ll be a new deck, new approach pavement, and some repairs underneath that most people won’t see. At least 10 to 20 years of life, so a few hundreds of thousands of dollars versus a couple million dollars.”

If approved, Culp said construction would begin in July or August.

Monday night’s meeting also brought the Springfield Road Improvement Project to life. Commissioners voted unanimously to approve contracting engineering firm Patrick Meyer & Associates for $9,300,000.

The plan is for the engineering firm to replace the curb, gutter, and storm sewer pipe. It would also handle inlet and outfall repairs and minor curb elevation adjustments, milling and overlaying, pavement marking, and engineering.

Ameren gas and water utilities were consulted on the project. The ordinance states that while the utilities would make some improvements, other improvements not included in the initial proposal would also be made.

Moreover, the East Washington Street improvements may also be part of the coordination work since Springfield Road is the meeting point for the two projects.

Additionally, commissioners voted to allow a maximum of 15 short-term rentals in the city. This came after the moratorium placed on short-term rentals last year.

East Peoria is set to distribute licenses beginning Sept. 1. Mayor John Kahl said of the 14 short-term rentals in the city, 12 are operational.

Also, the city council unanimously amended zoning regulations to allow a limited number of East Peoria residents to own backyard chickens.

Within the city limits, only 10 sites can apply for a special use permit that allows backyard chicken ownership. According to Ty Livingston, city planning and development director, those permits will only be issued for properties in conservation zones.

Those who meet those standards may keep up to five female chickens on their property in a clean and enclosed area. Owning roosters, however, is completely prohibited.

Mike Smith is an correspondent with WCBU in Peoria. He joined the station in 2023.