2013 Peoria State of the City
Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis stressed the importance of working together to build a brighter tomorrow for Peoria to a crowd of nearly 700 at the 13th annual Peoria State of the City Address hosted by the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce. He recapped 2012 but focused more on topics that will shape Peoria’s future including job creation, quality of life, economic growth and education.
The mayor's speech can be found by clicking here.
See photos from the event by clicking here.
"There’s no doubt in my mind that the biggest challenge facing Peoria and every other urban region is Education. On one hand, we’re facing the real and perceived weaknesses with our largest area school district, while on the other hand we’re recognizing an extraordinary array of educational opportunities. I believe Superintendent Grenita Lathan and her Board are working very, very hard to change the perceptions and the realities of the quality of our D150 Schools."
Mayor Ardis dispelled a myth that the communities within this region compete with each other by saying “The entire region benefits when Bass Pro Shops opens in East Peoria. When Five Points expands in Washington, when the Cancer Center opened at UICOM…we all benefit.”
He also referred to the Greater Peoria Economic Scorecard when encouraging the region to step up our competition with peer cities. He explained while the scorecard is a great way to compare our region to our peers, we need to do more than just measure ourselves if we want to stay ahead of them. "We are competing for our very livelihood and future with ‘peer’ communities throughout the Midwest. And if we don’t set the bar higher than simply tracking each other locally, we will surely lose out in the bigger ballgame of economic and business expansion taking place in neighboring states."
Throughout this year and beyond there are several initiatives and projects underway that the Mayor is excited about including the Peoria sustainability Commission, Caterpillar Headquarters study, Marriott Hotel downtown, JumpTrade Simulation and Education Center, Warehouse District, Passenger Rail, Regional Neighborhood Network Alliance Conference and more.
The Mayor also presented Susie Ketterer, Maggie Whalen and team Simantel with the first “Mayors Outstanding Community Service Award” for their dedication and extraordinary hard work on the Don’t Shoot Peoria project.
Peoria Chamber President Roberta Parks says the Chamber works closely with the City on many projects and efforts. “Whether that is budgets and taxes, commercial development, pension reform, education issues or quality of life initiatives; we work to bring the Council and administration the perspective of the business community as they address issues and pass ordinances and initiate programs.” This event, according to Parks, is just one way the chamber works to ensure its members remain involved and aware of what’s happening in our community.
Chamber Vice Chairman Brent Eichelberger announced the launch of a new Public Affairs Series for the Chamber. The first event in the series will feature Ed Rust, Chairman/CEO at State Farm, Chairman of US Chamber of Commerce and member of Caterpillar Inc. Board of Directors. He will be introduced by Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman on February 8th at 7:30 a.m. Rust’s comments will focus on how a strong economy is built through a skilled and educated workforce. Tickets are still available by visiting http://peoriachamber.org/event/public-affairs-series-featuringed-rust
The State of the City event is hosted annually by the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce. This year’s event was held at the Peoria Civic Center and sponsored by Dewberry and RLI.