Southside community could see better transportation and enhanced safety

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:30 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - The Peoria County Government took a survey to get suggestions for possible improvements in the area, in an effort to make Peoria safer and improve the quality of life.

25News spoke with local leaders to get their thoughts on the improvements.

Data from the 2000 Census showed the population within the 61605 zip code in 2000 was around 18,500 people. The numbers in 2021 hovered around 14,000.

While the southside’s population dropped by 4,000 residents, the Peoria County Government says they want to change the downward trend to make life more enjoyable.

Amy McLaren said they need to improve the public transportation infrastructure to give people better access to get where they need to go.

“We want to be able to give this information to policymakers and said: Hey, this is what we heard from the public, let’s see what we can do to move these projects forward”, said McLaren.

The county is putting out a survey on social media and local organizations to get a sense of what people in Peoria need. Creating a sense of safety is also a part of the survey.

Part of the project is aimed to improve infrastructure, such as improved street lighting. The Illinois Department of Transportation gave a 100-thousand dollar grant to help this effort.

Another goal was to provide more affordable housing.

“Because when you improve the climate of an area when you raise the economic floor of the citizens that exist there, you address a lot of those societal issues that we have when it comes to crime, violence, and the overall quality of life,” said Peoria County Government’s Andre Allen.

Allen said that some people in the 61605 are frustrated with the lack of resources. He added that the lack of these resources is finally being addressed.

“If we don’t address these basic needs of transportation and get people from one place to another safely, we won’t be able to truly improve this area of our community.”

Here is a link to the survey.