PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Two new At-Large City Council members will take their seats around the Horseshoe on Tuesday, and two long-serving members will step away.
It’s been a month since Bernice Gordon-Young and Mike Vespa were among the top five in the field of 10 candidates during the April 4 election. Incumbents Zachary Oyler, John Kelly and Kiran Velpula earned another four years on the council.
Stepping down are At-Large Councilmembers Sid Ruckriegel who spent eight years on the council while Beth Jensen is leaving after her 10th year as a council member. Neither ran for reelection.
Both Gordon-Young and Vespa will now serve four-year terms of office as at-large representatives.
Among the first things they’ll tackle is a request from City Hall to to spend about $9 million towards the $15 million conversion of Adams and Jefferson streets from one-way to two-day through the central business district.
The request isn’t necessarily spending that money per se but rather allowing city officials and the Illinois Department of Transportation to put the project out for bid. Total construction costs are estimated at about $11 million, said City Engineer Andrea Klopfenstein.
The federal government is expected to kick in about $1.8 million towards the project, according to documents from the city.
The project, which could begin this fall, will transform Adams Street from William Kumpf Boulevard to Hamilton Boulevard. Jefferson would be affected from Kumpf to Fayette Street.
The items the council will discuss are traffic-control signals at several of the intersections within that stretch. In addition to new signage and signals, the devices would hang over the street rather than be on poles at the side of the road which is seen as safer. Klopfenstein said there is some additional work too.
“We are also adding some bump outs to make the distance shorter for pedestrians to cross the street and to calm traffic, ADA ramp improvements, and lighting controller upgrades,” she said. “The project also includes a mill and overlay of the road surfaces.”
The project could be completed by the end of 2025 for this stretch which is part of a bigger plan.
“The long term vision is to make Adams and Jefferson two way all the way from Western to Camblin,” Klopfenstein said.