EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Plans to construct a multi-purpose park in the heart of East Peoria’s downtown are taking another step forward.

Thursday, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to signify the start of Phase 2 of the mostly privately-funded Levee Park project.

The park will be located next to East Peoria City Hall and the Fondulac District Library. Phase 2 will focus on the portion of the park along East Washington Street.

“They’ll be a beautiful green space, they’ll be a performance area and a stage with a canopy,” said Sue Portscheller, president of East Peoria Community Foundation.

Phase 2 was made possible with the help of a $500,000 grant through the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity.

Portscheller said she sees the park as a quality of life and business development project.

“We’re also imagining people will go over to the beautiful Levee District, grab lunch to go, come over here and sit in one of the shaded areas, and eat lunch,” Portscheller said.

Genna Buhr, director of the Fondulac District Library, said having the park right in their backyard will expand their capabilities.

“Knowing that we can take some of our programs is and have them out in the air and have that space will be super exciting,” Buhr said.

Portscheller said building a space like Levee Park isn’t an opportunity that comes by often.

“It’s going to be a wonderful place for East Peoria. We look at this as sort of a once in a century opportunity,” Portscheller said.

Phase 2 is expected to be completed in November.

The East Peoria Community Foundation is still in need of $1 million dollars in donations to complete phase 3, which will have features such as a splash pad.