Neighbors, officials weigh in on proposed Peoria Amtrak station sites

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 7:20 PM CDT
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PEORIA (WEEK) - A proposed resurrection of passenger rail service to Peoria is inching closer to reality.

Last week, local leaders unveiled three finalist sites for the city’s new Amtrak station based on public input over the last few months.

“Three locations in the heart of the downtown area that could link up with all of the other amenities that we have,” Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich said.

The proposed sites are the areas around the Gateway Building, River Station and the downtown US Post Office. City officials note the existing structures will not necessarily be impacted.

Some of the infrastructure for the new train line is already in place. All three of the proposed sites sit along the former Rock Island Rocket line, that runs parallel to Peoria’s Riverfront.

Discover Peoria VP of Sales Beth Reusch says the new line will be a win-win for residents, tourists and business travelers coming and going from the River City.

“It will help increase the availability of how people travel for both leisure, for Bradley University, and for all of our conventions at the Peoria Civic Center,” Reusch said.

The City Manager says each site has pros and cons, like being closer to existing public transit or local restaurants and businesses. Neighbors downtown say, of the three, they like the Gateway Building best.

“Keep it as close to Chicago as you can, so it doesn’t interfere with any foot traffic or anything else down here,” Peoria resident Rick Jeffs said.

“[It] helps everyone out,” Peoria resident James McKee said. “It’s right downtown. It’s easy access to get to. You’ve got a lot of parking spots.”

The city is holding a meeting Thursday to get more public feedback on the proposed sites and is aiming for federal support to make the project happen. It will be at the Gateway Building from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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