Conversations begin over what to do with Harrison and McKinley sites

The importance of re-investing in both of the neighborhoods was the highlight of Wednesday's meeting.
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 6:11 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - Taking them down goes quickly but replacing them, could take a while.

It’s the future of the former Harrison school and now demolished McKinley school.

Some of those ideas include single-family homes or senior retirement communities but Wednesday’s meeting was the first step in considering the options for the future of both locations on the south side.

Mayor Rita Ali begins, ”McKinley school is down. It looks great. The ugly monstrosity is gone. It is gone and the neighbors are very grateful for that. So, what’s going to happen in that space? Well, it really depends.”

Conversations are officially beginning about what to do with the two plots of land that once occupied the former Harrison school and McKinley.

Armeca Crawford, the CEO of the Peoria Housing Authority says she would like to ”bring back that sense of community that I hear so much about in the 61605 of how things used to be.”

Around 50 community leaders met at the Peoria Area Association of Realtors (PAAR) office to discuss the options.

Crawford says first they want to do what’s in the best interest of the residents who live in that area. We want them to be a part of the planning. We want to know what they want to see instead of making assumptions. What I’m looking for is to have a residential area that is built out the way that the residents of the community imagine.”

One possible solution for both properties is housing, both single-family and senior living are considerations.

Mayor Ali says its important to her that residents of the neighborhood have the opportunity to build equity, ”Habitat for Humanity is actually looking at that space where McKinley was to encourage homeownership.”

One thing all the leaders agreed on was the importance of re-investing in both of the neighborhoods.

Crawford concludes, “we have a need for amenities such as Wifi, daycare, and mental health most of those things are absent from that particular area. What we’re looking to do is bring all the stakeholders together so we can determine what’s best for the neighborhood.”