With the completion of the Milestone Project—the region’s largest-ever privately funded development—and the opening of the new Children’s Hospital of Illinois and OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, July is truly a milestone month for central Illinois.
Having served on the Children’s Hospital Advisory Board for a number of years, I know how exciting it will be to finally have all of the hospital’s services under one roof, not to mention the increased space for St. Jude. On a recent tour of the new building, I was quite impressed by all of the details, so carefully planned and executed—it’s no small thing to manage and implement such a huge development. If you attend one of the many open house events scheduled for this month, I’m sure you’ll be equally impressed.
It really is impressive to see and hear about all of the work being done around town—in spite of the lingering effects of the worst recession in decades. As OSF Saint Francis CEO Keith Steffen points out in this issue, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
And while we’ve been dancing, the face of the region is being transformed. Initial infrastructure work on the downtown museum began earlier in the spring. This summer, the College of Medicine will break ground on its new Cancer Research Facility. The downtown Marriott Hotel project was approved by the City Council in May, and construction is expected to begin soon.
Everybody’s talking about Bass Pro Shops coming to the area, and nine years after the unveiling of the East Peoria/Downtown 2010 project, the State of Illinois finally delivered on its promised capital funds, allowing work on the site to move forward.
The new Harrison and Glen Oak Birth-8th Grade Community Learning Centers, as well as the Quest Charter Academy, will be up and running with the coming school year. Work on the conversion of the former Kellar Branch rail corridor to a recreational trail is expected to begin this fall, while the new terminal at the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport will be complete by the end of the year.
Change is in the air at local retail centers, from the ongoing upgrades at Metro Centre, Junction City and Sheridan Village to the announcement of a major new tenant at Westlake Shopping Center and numerous developments, including the creation of a neighborhood environment, near The Shoppes at Grand Prairie.
And there is so much more—this is hardly a comprehensive list. Before you know it, each of these projects will have become an essential part of the fabric of central Illinois, just as their predecessors did. We’re in the midst of a remarkable transformation, one that will reshape the region for decades to come. iBi