CENTRAL ILLINOIS — There is a lot to look forward to next year. New Developments in Central Illinois will take the region to the next level.
Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is embarking on a new chapter. The organization already supplies blood exclusively to OSF Healthcare location in the region, but on January 1 it will also become the main provider for Unity Point Health. This includes Unity Point Health Methodist in Peoria, Unity Point Health Proctor and Unity Point Health Pekin.
Patients will receive blood from Mississippi Valley, but will also be given the opportunity to give to the organization. MVRBC plans to open a blood donation center in Peoria.
City Leaders are enticing entrepreneurs to move to the River City. The Peoria Innovation District was approved in October. This district is outlined by Main St., Water St., Harris St. and Jefferson Ave.
The new area aims to bring life to the downtown area. Leaders are excited to see where this will take the city in the future. Peoria Innovation Alliance Executive Director, Jake Hamann, said his Central Illinois roots motivate him to improve Peoria.
“I have seen innovation districts happen in other communities, and lead to a lot of success,” Hamann said. “The concentrated activity leads to more services that are needed, but also these companies growing [and] bringing investment dollars.”
Dream Center Peoria is expanding. The center’s newly renovated homeless shelter will now be able to provide 125 beds.
“In the last three years, we have seen our homeless shelter here triple in number,” Peoria Dream Center Executive Director Andy King said. “We have had to adapt to what is happening in Peoria.”
It will also be home to four rooms dedicated to protecting those affected by sex trafficking.
“We see a lot of girls escaping human trade,” King said. “That may be a girl who is staying with someone who is allowed to stay there if they do certain things. They don’t know how to get out, they got into it, they don’t know how to get out. So we can be that place they run too.”
It’s been over a year since OSF St. Francis Medical Center added a new building to its list of future office spaces. Next Year, the medical company will purchase Caterpillar’s LD building on Adams Street. City leaders said this will attract more business to the Downtown Area.
“We’re looking at, you know, between 812 or 1,300 people that are [going to] be working downtown every day, and it’s just gonna add a real shot of life in the downtown area,” Mayor Jim Ardis said.
Rivian, a car company located in Normal, hopes to recruit and hire hundreds of workers. WGLT, Heartland Community College and Illinois Central College are considering a partnership with Rivian for workforce training.
T. Rowe Price, Amazon, and Ford Motors have already announced intentions to be future Rivian Customers.