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Ground-breaking for new park on the south end

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT
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PEORIA (WEEK) - Out with the old and in with the new - three abandoned homes were knocked down on Peoria’s south end with a promise of a new park on Tuesday.

“A place of peace, a place to have green space, a place for people to pause,” Creator of POTENT Gratitude Bob Woolsey said when asked about the vision of the park.

POTENT Gratitude Park would sit beside Sovereign Grace M.B. church on Peoria’s south side.

The idea was a collaboration between many groups who wanted to see Peoria shine. One group, POTENT Gratitude, wanted the park to represent hope in the community.

“It’s where the Southend is emerging, it’s a great place where people want to be,” Woolsey said. “There’s a lot of energy and momentum building on the south end and this is just one project which will continue that momentum and continue that excitement.”

The project was funded by Build Peoria - a nonprofit that raised money for projects that made an impact and built up Peoria.

“It’s really important to create those safe spaces to enjoy,” Jaymee Barra from Build Peoria said. “Really building up that part of our community is important to us.”

Visions for the park include a pavilion, benches, lights and a blacktop. Community members like long-time resident Luhenri Davis Johnson said they’re excited about something new in the area.

“I think it will be really nice to have it there because there’s still a lot of people that bring their children to the proctor center,” Davis said.

Other groups like Peoria Friendship House helped. JiMax demolition offered to demolish the site free of charge helped make the park possible.

The park’s opening date is pending.

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