Peoria County

The Peoria Civic Center is getting some new seating in the Carver Arena with $2.6 million from the state. Governor Pat Quinn visited Saturday afternoon to make the capital funding announcement and sign legislation.

Peoria County board ends its pension program

Aug 8, 2013

Peoria County Board members voted unanimously to cancel their state pension plans.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the move follows a similar decision by the Tazewell County Board last week: 

"Science Rocks!" at Peoria Riverfront Museum

Aug 2, 2013

The Peoria Riverfront Museum is opening free to the public Saturday. Peoria County is hosting the event promoting scientific history in Peoria. “Science Rocks!” includes free admission to all museum galleries and the planetarium.

Legislation passed in Springfield clears the way for Peoria County to have a single election commission. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the election reform bill allows the County to ask voters if they want a combined commission:

Currently the City of Peoria runs election services within its borders, and part of the County Clerk’s Office runs the rest of Peoria County services. Tom Bride is executive director of the Peoria City Election Commission. He says a combined service means more efficiency for voters:

Heddington Oaks gets ready for residents

Jul 12, 2013
Tanya Koonce / WCBU

  The ceremonial ribbon cutting on the new county owned nursing home signals the facility's completion . Heddington Oaks is located on Heading Avenue in West Peoria. It’s replacing the nearly 40 year old Bel-Wood Nursing Home currently located off Maxwell Road. Matt Newkirk is the Director of the County owned facility. He says the new facility cost about $35 Million and was more than six years in the making.  “We’re in the final stages of having public health come in and finishing our surveys to certify the building.

Peoria County hires new IT director

Jul 11, 2013

Peoria County has hired a new technology director after nearly two years without filling the post. County Administrator Lori Curtis Luther says Mark Little will start work August 12th.  

Peoria County is preparing to expand its employee health plan coverage to comply with the Affordable Care Act.  New regulations require the county to cover the cost for mammograms, colonoscopies and immunizations as much as 100-percent.  

Peoria County is reporting the first mosquito sample to rest positive for West Nile virus this year.  The City/County Health Department says people should avoid being outdoors between dusk and dawn and keep doors and windows shut.  It says people should also wear insect repellant and report stagnant water areas that could turn into mosquito breeding grounds. 

Peoria County proposes new animal control contract

Jul 8, 2013

Peoria County is asking municipalities to sign onto a three year contract for animal control services. The current contracts with 14 Peoria County communities expire at the end of the year.

Dog owners in Peoria County could be facing tougher penalties for threatening and harmful dog behavior under a proposal being considered by the County Board.   Peoria Public Radio's Alex Rusciano reports: 

The Peoria County board approved reducing building and maintenance fees by half for flood victims. The board voted 11 to five on the fee reduction while also adding two new full time employees to the Planning and Zoning Department.

FEMA closing Disaster Recovery Center in Peoria County

Jun 10, 2013

FEMA is closing its Disaster Recovery Center in Peoria County for flood victims to register for federal recovery assistance. The center is at Chillicothe Fire Hall. It’s closing Friday. People can still register with FEMA online at

Homefield electric aggregation advantage

Jun 7, 2013

People in the greater Peoria area are reporting electricity marketers going door-to-door and doing phone campaigns. Peoria County officials say the electric aggregation program sponsored by the County provides a lower rate than people would pay under the terms of individual contracts or than the Ameren rate. Those in the Peoria County aggregation program are not required to sign a contract and will not be called or visited by a salesperson.  Those who are uncertain whether they are enrolled in the community aggregation program can contact Homefield Energy.

Peoria County is also using federal grant money to help boost small, minority and women-owned businesses in the area.  The $270,000 grant was intended to help the County purchase and renovate a small-business incubator facility in the region.  County Board member Rachel Parker says the grant and a local match of $400,000 will instead be used to invest in existing programs:

A course for the future of Hanna City Work Camp

May 21, 2013
Alex Rusciano

The shuttered Hanna City is about to get some soil remediation in hopes of a new purpose. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce reports a meeting last night shed light on the process. 

The US Air Force used the site for radar tracking until 1968. Since, it’s had a variety of uses, but for about the last decade mostly it's sat dark. 

Richerson out as PRM President and CEO

May 16, 2013

Jim Richerson is no longer running the Peoria Riverfront Museum. The announcement comes after the Museum failed to provide Peoria County with contractually required financial information. Peoria County voters approved a quarter of one percent sales tax increase to build the museum in 2009.

State assessing flood damage in Peoria County

May 10, 2013

State and federal damage assessment teams are in Peoria County, surveying properties following last month’s severe flooding.  The assessment process is required for area counties to qualify for federal disaster funding.  Jonathon Monken directs the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.  He says residents affected by the flooding shouldn’t wait to clean up properties or file flood insurance:

Peoria County hopes to open its new nursing home facility in late June or early July.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports that’s about a month later than originally planned: 

Residents looking for guidance as they clean up from flooding can attend an informational meeting this evening. Peoria County is hosting a flood recovery meeting at Illinois Valley High School in Chillicothe. The session will cover various topics related to flood safety. Representatives from the emergency management agency, planning and zoning, the health department and county administration will also be on hand to answer questions. The meeting will take place at six this evening. 

One Peoria County Board member is calling for the Peoria Riverfront Museum to give updates during committee meetings.  


Updated Road Closures & Flood Information

Apr 19, 2013
Brian Williamsen / IDOT

Updated 5/01/13  7:00am 

Flooding causes road closures across tri-county area

Apr 18, 2013

Drivers are encouraged to use extra caution on the roads as flood watches and warnings are in place in numerous locations throughout the area. Weather-related road closures in IDOT District 4 include:

Riverfront Museum finances in question

Apr 17, 2013

The Peoria Riverfront Museum plans to comply with its contractual obligation to provide financial data to the county. So says museum president Jim Richerson.  County staff say the museum is months overdue in providing last fiscal year’s audit and other tax forms. Richerson says the audit from last fiscal year isn’t finished because it involves the colossal transition from Lakeview to the new organization that complicates the finances. Some close to the situation say the museum is running a monthly operating deficit. Richerson says he cannot answer that:

Peoria City, County look to digital data storage

Apr 15, 2013

Peoria County could help the City of Peoria back-up its storage for emergency data.  A proposal from the Metro Peoria committee would use a shared city-county fiber-optic cable to create an offsite backup location.  Tom Seckler is with Peoria County’s IT department.  He says disk-storage has advantages over traditionally backing up data on tapes:

  The Peoria County Board approved a resolution that fund its cash-strapped rural transit service.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the rural program needs about $140,000 to stay afloat through June: 

Peoria County’s rural transit service may have funding through the end of June.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the County Board is considering two-resolutions next month to fund the cash-strapped service: 

 The rural transit service needs about $140,000 to stay afloat through June. That’s because more people are using the program than annual grant funding can support.  One resolution proposes taking money directly out of the general fund to pay for rural transit costs.  County Board member Allen Mayer has another resolution. He proposes instead paying  for the transit service with anticipated revenues from property taxes and delaying some road projects for a year. 

Revamped Peoria County law library opens doors

Mar 20, 2013

The law library and help center at the Peoria County Courthouse is officially re-opened following nearly $33,000 in renovations. Michael Brandt is the Chief Judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit. He says the renovations helped make it easier for people to use legal resources:

The Peoria County Board deferred a vote to approve new rules to manage independent waste-water systems. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the move comes after realtors and other groups say they weren’t involved in crafting the proposed changes: 

 The Peoria City/County Health Department is proposing changes that would require people requesting permits for repairs to prove the rest of their system is up to code.  Another proposed change would make inspectors to eventually follow guidelines when examining a home’s waste-water system prior to selling it.  But the Peoria Area Association of Realtors and some residents say they weren’t included in the process of crafting the rules.  County Board member Lynn Scott Pearson says County staff were transparent in communicating the proposed changes:

Peoria County is facing a nearly $700,000 cut in state funding that’s proposed by Governor Pat Quinn.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports: 

Quinn is proposing a 20-percent cut to a certain state fund that feeds local governments.  Assistant Peoria County Administrator Scott Sorrel says the proposed cut would mean less money to pay for several county services:

  Peoria County is looking to better gauge how well it’s Planning and Zoning staff interact with residents. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:  Peoria County Administration says it’s been hearing accounts that staff in the Planning and Zoning Department allegedly aren’t being courteous or professional in the field in some cases.  Scott Sorrel is Assistant Peoria County Administrator.  He says the County will start surveying people: “We have no way of saying whether that’s a true statement or not.