A Strategic Plan for Downtown Development

by Michael Freilinger, Downtown Development Corporation of Peoria

We have all heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Downtown Peoria certainly is not failing and, in fact, is succeeding! To date, the Downtown Development Corporation of Peoria (DDC) has assisted with the completion of 163 residential units; 29 business startups and relocations; 68 developers (local and out-of-town) interested in property in Downtown Peoria; 46 development projects; and the issuance of 714 construction permits in Downtown Peoria with an estimated value over $74 million. In order to keep this momentum going, the DDC board approved and has implemented a three- to five-year strategic plan. 

The DDC is the leading local champion for planning, development and revitalization efforts in Peoria’s downtown area. Geographically, this includes the Central Business District, Warehouse District, Riverfront District, Medical District and a 20-square-block section of the East Village Growth Cell TIF District. It is a not-for-profit, standalone corporation designed to bring private and public interests together for a common goal: creating a vibrant environment for people to live, work and play. A thriving downtown benefits Peoria and our region’s economy as a whole. 

Our vision statement affirms that Downtown Peoria is the most dynamic and vibrant midsized urban neighborhood in Illinois—valuing diversity, opportunity, creativity and collaboration, which fosters a healthy and productive environment where individuals choose to live, and businesses choose to locate and grow.

Our mission statement proclaims that it is the mission of the Downtown Development Corporation of Peoria to promote the economic revitalization and sense of community of Downtown Peoria.

With dynamic vision and mission statements and a strong set of core values, this plan will serve as our compass with three major strategic goals: 

  1. Increase the residential population of Downtown Peoria by 1,300 by December 31, 2022.
  2. Increase the daytime population of Downtown Peoria by 10 percent, or 2,500 new employees, by December 31, 2022.
  3. Increase the number of businesses located in Downtown Peoria by 50 new businesses by December 31, 2022.

Numerous studies show that increasing the downtown residential population is key to revitalizing the urban core. It is also important to increase the daytime population, which is significantly larger than the residential population and supports many of the retail businesses in the downtown. How that is done is also a critical factor. The downtown will be stronger, more vibrant and more resilient as the number of employers increases. 

Aligned with the goals set forth in the plan are activities and resources to help achieve each goal. In collaboration with city, county and regional officials and organizations with a vested interest in the growth of Downtown Peoria, we will see continued growth and development over the next few years. 

A high-level version of our strategic plan has been shared with current investors. Annual reports and quarterly updates will be provided to the DDC Board of Directors and investors beginning in 2019. For a summary of our strategic plan, visit downtownpeoria.us. iBi

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