PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – A 10-acre park in the Southside of Peoria is undergoing a much-needed transformation thanks to federal COVID-19 grants.
The Peoria City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to allocate $600,000 to renovate Trewyn Park by the end of the year. Funds are from a COVID-19 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The concept plan includes a new $110,000 shelter with barbecue grills and picnic tables, a $220,000 playground and $120,000 basketball courts.
“We want to improve the quality of life for our citizens, so this was a great opportunity to address a neighborhood need,” Peoria Mayor Rita Ali said.
Ali said the improved playpen will keep children busy and safe.
“I think it will mean a lot to young people to be able to have a new, safe environment… Overall, providing quality activities for young people that keep them from getting bored, out of trouble or out of having that idle time is always a good way to reduce bad activities,” she said.
Peoria Park District executive director Emily Cahill said the current basketball courts are located at the top of the hill. The new courts will be located in a flatter area on the north side of the park.
“I’ve heard so many stories over the past two months about kids having to race down the hill to get the ball back, and it slows down the game, and they always force little kids to do it,” he said. she stated.
Cahill said the refreshed park will help bring people together, reduce crime and increase property values.
“To provide social connectivity for people, it’s a place to come together, it gives people spaces to play and spend time together,” she said. “We know it helps reduce crime, that parks are really safe places.”
Cahill said the atypical funding source will bring the project to the finish line in just one year.
“It allows us to make really critical improvements to the park faster than we could have done on our own,” she said.
Peoria Park District Council is expected to vote on the project on February 1. Cahill said the next steps would be to get public comment and tender documents.
Trewyn Park is one of the original five parks in the Peoria Park District system.