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Considering the Future of Peoria Stadium

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Tanya Koonce
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Peoria Public Radio

About 100 people attended the meeting on the future of Peoria Stadium last night. It started with a self-guided tour which was an opportunity to see the 100 year old stadium and 80 year old track.

  During the meeting Peoria District 150 administration made it clear, the idea of repurposing of the property to a commercial big-box store was no longer a consideration, because it was unacceptable to the community.

The District 150 portion of the property is still being used mostly for football, but underused overall. The Peoria Park District operates about 40-percent of the property. Still every one who spoke agreed the stadium is too valuable to lose.

PSD150Track.jpg
Credit Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio
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Peoria Public Radio
The track constructed in about 1937, has not enough and smaller lanes than today's regulation tracks. That's not saying anything about the quality of the remaining surface.

To some, like former Peoria City Council Woman and I-C-C Board Trustee Gale Thetford it’s simple. She says, “fix it!”

But Running Central Owner Adam White says the facilities probably need to be leveled and rebuilt. “But with the modern day amenities necessary to be able to draw in a litany of sports. This has to look beyond simply football, track and field. We have to look at turf-sports in their entirety.”

White says a group of about 20 community members have started talking about a sort of, public-private partnership that could build and operate such a stadium, to take the burden off the public school system.

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Credit Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio
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Peoria Public Radio
The visitor stands were built in 1915. The upper deck is off limits, presumably because it is not structurally sound. "Keep out" signs are posted on the chains used to keep people from using them.

  “We believe that the only way in which this could truly happen because of where we are financially as a school district, and as a park district, is there would have to be a non-profit created who would be able to lease this ground for pennies on the dollar, and this is where we would need a public private collaborative.” White says a public-private

  collaborative could put together the money to build it, with costs estimated north of $10 million.  

Those still interested in submitting ideas can do so by linking to the Peoria Public Schools survey here.