Photo by Darren Jackson-Adams
Thriving cities (and regions) find a way to reinvent themselves through solutions that improve living conditions for all residents, encourage sustainable development, invest in local resources, and offer a variety of opportunities to attract new residents and retain current ones. As Greater Peoria faces challenges on multiple fronts, any changes that lie ahead ought to be embraced as opportunities for positive transformation.
Our 2017 class of 40 Leaders Under Forty are some of our brightest and most ambitious citizens... so what better minds to ask for ideas to bring innovation and improvements to Peoria?
We asked this year’s class: “What is the one thing you would bring to the Peoria area if you could?”
Some suggestions centered on new retail or dining options (Trader Joe’s, REI, Lou Malnati’s); others were entertainment-based (a riverfront Ferris wheel, an aquarium, an NFL football team); and any of them would be welcome additions to our region. Here are a few more responses for serious consideration...
- Green technology industry that focuses on reducing our need to burn fossil fuels while providing local jobs that pay well. Peoria is famous for “moving earth”—it could also be famous for saving it.
- A change in the education system at the high school level. Specifically, introduce courses that bring decent technical job opportunities immediately after completion, instead of needing a college degree.
- Increase the number of and accessibility to mental health services in this region.
- An end to all of the violence.
- A law school.
- An Amtrak line/station!
- A few more direct flights in and out of the Peoria Airport.
- More jobs, created by stable organizations and corporations that would invest in our people and improve the long-term economic output of our region.
- Opportunity. I think citizens of central Illinois are uneasy when considering the future. We need innovative and stable businesses to reinvigorate the area. Employers that offer careers over jobs and that understand the value of a region like Peoria would be ideal.
Consider the impact if even one or two of these suggestions came to fruition, and what that could bring to our region in terms of economic development, public health and safety, jobs, education, or tourism. Anything is possible when leaders with vision commit to progressive, strategic initiatives.
What would you bring to the area if you could? PS
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