PEORIA -- The Peoria City Council is voting on Tuesday on whether to give a South Side church nearly $140,000 for renovations. The money comes from the Southtown Tax Increment Fund.
The Ward Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church is more than just a place of worship. It's a church that offers a soup kitchen, and help for the city's seniors.
That's why the city found it worthy of its dollars. Assistant City Manager Chris Setti said, "To basically do two things. Most of it is the renovation of the social service areas and I think it's an important distinction, we're not giving dollars to the church to fix their worship areas."
The church falls within the Southtown TIF boundary. That means the money can only be used on projects within those borders.
Setti said the money also has to follow a set of rules. "What is the impact of the community and how broad is that impact. What is the feasibility of the project being done. So we, the group, didn't want to allocate dollars to a project that was speculative."
One of the church's projects is to build a ramp so people can get down the stairs and into the dining room, a little bit easier.
The church also plans to renovate and make repairs to its kitchen and dining areas, and its roof and floors.
Setti said a portion of the money will go toward a future project. "The other $20,000 is to let them do some engineering exploration for this ideas of a senior housing complex."
Setti said the city knows the money will do a lot of good, and impact a significant part of the community. "They feed hundreds and probably thousands of people every year and their facility certainly needs some help."
If the City Council approves the item, Setti said the church can start its projects immediately.