When East Peoria completed construction of the EastSide Center in 1996, the multi-sports complex was a step ahead of its time. But now times are catching up with the concept, the city’s mayor said on Friday.
“You have a sports complex in Bettendorf, one getting ready to go up in Springfield, one in Rantoul. We can’t sit around and watch our facility age,” East Peoria Mayor John Kahl said.
“The staff up there do an absolutely amazing job. And when you look at the amount of events they bring in, it’s down to the staff and the state of that facility and how they maintain it with this they have,” Kahl continued. “But we, really, this council, recognize the need to upgrade this facility.”
The EastSide Center currently includes ten turf baseball/softball fields, four turf soccer fields, three indoor basketball courts, a 20,000 square foot sports hall and other amenities.
Kahl said there are plans to add four additional multipurpose courts to the land where the SplashDown water park once stood. This also includes the renovation of restrooms, changing rooms and the concession area. Athletico Physical Therapy also plans an expanded presence at the updated EastSide center, Kahl said.
“When you look at how important kids’ athletics are to parents, that’s one thing that hasn’t slowed down during the pandemic,” Kahl said in an interview after his State of the City address. friday. “And EastSide was ahead of its time at the time, so we think there’s a need to reinvest in that. With the number of hotels, restaurants and stores we have, it’s important to continue to stimulate the economy.”
Kahl said the $6 million project will begin later this year.
The existing gymnasium floor will be replaced in August as part of a $100,000 capital project.
Ongoing Public Safety Improvements
The City of East Peoria launches a five-year plan to build a new police station.
Kahl said the current station on West Washington does not meet the department’s current needs.
“They’ve got stuff piled up in trailers. We’ve got stuff in back buildings,” Kahl said. “You know, our department has 49 sworn officers, and they work in a very united place. They have been for years.”
Kahl said a 30,000 square foot building is planned for the new police station. Seven sites around East Peoria are under consideration, including the current station site, the mayor said.
The total cost of the project is estimated between 17 and 22 million dollars. The next big expense, architecture and engineering fees, will be between $1.2 and $1.7 million.
Mayor Kahl also said the city plans to open a new fire hall at Illinois Central College next to the Quail Meadows golf course by this fall.
Construction costs have increased to $2.6 million since $1.9 million in public funds was approved for the project. Kahl said four firefighters will be stationed along Centennial Drive.
Luxury apartments open later this year
The mixed-use residential building planned for the lot adjacent to the East Peoria Civic Complex in the Levee District now has a name.
Developers of the four-story, $55 million complex dub the building “501 Blutowne.” This name is reminiscent of East Peoria’s original name, Bluetown.
In addition to 233 luxury apartments, 501 Blutowne will also feature 10,000 square feet of retail space, a swimming pool and pet-friendly amenities.
Kahl said the pandemic has delayed the start of the project, first announced in 2020. An extension of TIF benefits allows the project to move forward, he said.
Kahl predicts that if all goes according to plan, the mixed-use development will be completed in two years.
On the other side of the civic complex, work is underway on the East Peoria Community Foundation’s Levee Park. Construction of the second phase is expected to start next week. About $1.5 million in private donations are being sought for the third and final phase, which includes a wading pool and performance stage.