PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — After more than a year, the headquarters of what will be a $10 billion investment fund for retired police officers will hold an open house on Thursday.

City leaders are excited about what it might mean to have the spotlight on Peoria when it comes down to retirement funds such as the Illinois Police Officers Pension Investment Fund which has its headquarters in Downtown Peoria.

“This is saying to the financial sector that Peoria is a pretty good place to have office space. We are a medium-priced city. We have a good quality of life and don’t have the confusion or the high price aspects of a larger urban area,” said City Councilman Chuck Grayeb who represents Downtown.

Members of the council will gather at 456 Fulton St., for an open house on Thursday afternoon. It’s there where councilmembers will see the offices, meet the employees and learn more about the fund and what it means for Peoria.

Richard White, the fund’s executive director, said the fund’s value is about $9 billion right now, with another $1 billion “waiting on the sidelines.” He said that its location in Peoria, a mid-sized Downstate community, sends a message.

“We are located in a community that is like the ones they represent and serve,” he said.

City Manager Patrick Urich said the fund actually came to Peoria more than a year ago but renovations to city-owned office space at Twin Towers Plaza took months due to supply chain issues.

Shawn Curry, a sergeant with the Peoria Police Department and a member of the fund’s board of trustees, said having the fund’s main office located here is a big deal.

It’s the only one of its kind in the state, he noted. In 2019, Illinois changed the way police pensions outside of Chicago were handled and allowed them to combine assets. The result is that instead of 357 individual funds, there is just one.

“It’s significant as most of the funds are located in Chicagoland,” Curry said. “A few are in Springfield but this is the first time Peoria has ever had a pension fund, especially of this size.”

White agreed, saying it wasn’t the goal of his office when they decided to locate here but he did say that already he’s been on marketing and business calls with others regarding the fund and that it’s in Peoria.