Leaders give tour of new Peoria Innovation Hub

Digital Originals

PEORIA, Ill. — The future Peoria Innovation Hub gave the community an inside look into what the project will have to offer on Wednesday.

Those interested were able to meet with other innovators and learn more about what is planned for the future of the Greater Peoria region.

Kip McCoy, Director of the Office of Innovation Management for OSF HealthCare, said he believes the hub will be a community asset and he hoped by providing a tour, they’ll be able to get the community’s input.

“We really want to get feedback on what we can do that’s really going to be of the most benefit for the local economy, for local entrepreneurs, local corporations and local nonprofits,” McCoy said.

The hub is taking over the vacated Illinois Central College Thomas Building at 201 SW Adams St. McCoy said he envisions the space being utilized as an open sharing and collaborative environment.

“We want to make sure we have a gathering spot where we can enhance those and maybe offer connections to corporations that startups may not have had before,” McCoy said. “That different community partners can come together in a meaningful way.”

McCoy said the hub still has to go through a design process to transfer the building into an appropriate space. It is part of the larger Illinois Innovation Network and funded through a $10 million grant and was previously announced in 2018.

He said the state has a total of $500 million dollars designated for the entire Illinois Innovation Network and last year they put in a grant application to the state for $15 million dollars to help fund the project.

McCoy said while they wait on funding, they plan to use the feedback they’ve gotten from the tour to determine where to go next.

“Next steps for us are to continue having these conversations and move through a planning process and start to solidify these ideas we heard into actual working plans,” McCoy said.

McCoy said there’s currently no date on when the hub will open, but he hopes to start the design process by mid-2020.

The hub will be dedicated to finding solutions to improve the wellness of underserved populations and advance systems related to food, farming, and transportation. It will also contain spaces for startups, corporate partners, community organizations, universities, and other stakeholders.

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