Road Construction Returning on University in Peoria
It will be another summer of construction on Peoria’s University Street between Forrest Hill and War Memorial Drive.
The city council Tuesday night approved funding for a complete reconstruction of that stretch of road, with work beginning as soon as next Monday.
The project includes relocation of water mains, with Illinois American Water Company reimbursing the city for those improvements.
The city also wanted to incorporate taking power lines underground and other electrical service improvements. But city manager Patrick Urich says Ameren Illinois has not agreed to help fund that work.
“Ameren has taken a more restrictive view of what their franchise agreement calls for. They feel if they’re doing any improvements that they don’t have planned for, it’s the responsibility of the city to pay for it and we definitely disagree with that,” Urich said.
The work to moving power lines underground would have cost the city $2 million. The city is negotiating with Ameren to instead to reduce the scope of improvements. That would mean moving all the lines to one side of the street, and cost about $800,000, if Ameren agrees.
Upon completion of this project, over the past ten years the city will have invested 18-million dollars into University Street from Main Street to Pioneer Parkway. University is the city’s most highly travelled road.
MINORITY HIRING GOALS
The Peoria City Council also established goals for minority hiring in both its police and fire departments. The new policy calls for the number of minority commissioned officers within the police department to increase eight percent annually. The goal is higher for the fire department, increasing fire personnel at an annual rate of 11 percent.
City Manager Urich says the first step is finding qualified applicants. “We need to get more interested minorities that are interested in careers in law enforcement and the fire service to apply and that’s the biggest challenge that we have.”
The overall goal is to have 40 percent of each department comprised of minorities by the year 2025.