A well-attended ribbon cutting marked the opening celebration of the Betty Jayne Brimmer Center for the Performing Arts in Peoria Heights.
The day had special meaning for developer Kim Blickenstaff. The opening of the building named in his mother's honor fell also on her birthday.
Blickenstaff was born in Spring Bay. He later made his fortune running Tandem Diabetes Care in California, but now he said he's back to bring new life to the community where he grew up.
In addition to the performing arts center, Blickenstaff also plans to open a hotel and specialty grocery store in the Heights, a community to which he's taken a particular shine. He's also purchased the old Pabst Brewery building on Prospect, and the Scottish Rite Cathedral in downtown Peoria. He's also offered to help the Peoria Women's Club fix up their historic building.
"We'll get these done, and get them utilized by the local community so people can see how much fun this is and how wonderful it is, and then we'll see the next thing that needs to be done to sorta rebuild our community," Blickenstaff said.
The Betty Jayne is in the old Peoria Heights Public Library building on Kelly Avenue. Blickenstaff says it will host chamber music, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, lectures, and some named acts like rock musician Marshall Crenshaw that he said currently don't have a venue in the area.