Tuesday, Peoria city council approved the allocation of nearly $3 million to multiple south side projects, including renovating the George Washington Carver Community Center. For months, the city and community leaders have debated the best use of the money. In total, six projects will get money from the TIF.
The closed center will get nearly $1.5 million to fix walls, floors and other problems to prepare for a hopeful re-opening in July 2013. It will allow for the repair of exterior doors, bathrooms, complete roof repairs and prepare the second floor for use by the Magic Johnson Foundation, with whom the center is in negotiations. However, interim executive director Ken Hinton says the money will help the center prepare for smaller programs much sooner.
"The support for Carver is so great, locally and nationally that it would have taken a long time, but I believe Carver would have done it. But the city has gone a long way as far as making this a reality," said Hinton.
The Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity, or PCCEO, will get $872,133 to support food banks and new housing.
The Peoria Park District will receive $300,000 to purchase and install a water slide at Gwynn Aquatic Facility. Crittenton Centers will receive $285,567 to prepare for a building expansion, and Ward Chapel will get $139,377.
Councilman Clyde Gulley (D-1) said the allocation of the Southtown TIF may be his best achievement as a councilman, so far.
"I think this has more people involved and more people will be impacted for a long time because of what was done here tonight," Gulley said.
According to city manager Patrick Urich, $5.1 will be in the fund by 2014.