PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill. (WMBD)– WMBD-TV is on the move as part of our Central Illinois Summer Road Trip and this week, we’re visiting Peoria Heights.

Prospect Road has become a popular spot to shop, eat, or enjoy activities with family and friends. It’s the area some may consider the heart of Peoria Heights.

“You will find people on our streets from morning into the evening, it’s very walkable, the businesses are diverse,” Mayor Michael Phelan, Village of Peoria Heights.

The vast majority of the businesses are also locally-owned.

Fired Up: Paint Your Own Pottery! Has been located along Prospect Road since 2004. Manager Heather Hogan said Peoria Heights’ central location makes it a good place to do business.

“We can bring in customers from the other side of the river, the East Peoria side, all the way to Dunlap,” Hogan said.

Over the years, Hogan said she’s seen the transformation of Prospect Road and how it’s become a place where the community can spend an entire day.

“You can start here, paint pottery in the morning, have ice cream next door, and have dinner down at Sullivan’s,” Hogan said.

It’s that momentum that has attracted more businesses like W.E. Sullivan’s Irish Pub and Fare which opened in the Heights just over 6 years ago.

“My uncle Sully when he opened his last restaurant, he told me, Billy the Heights is where it’s at,” said Billy Blasek, owner of W.E. Sullivan’s.

Blasek added that the business owners on Prospect are like family and when one does well, it benefits the entire area.

“There’s always a few things going on and everyone drives each other’s business,” Blasek said.

Even after facing the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, most storefronts along Prospect Road have remained filled and the future continues to look bright.

“Occasionally a business may move but right away it seems like another fills that void,” Mayor Phelan said.

Peoria Heights is also in the process of bringing a hotel to Prospect Road.