PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Two life-long Peorians completed their 170th walk around Peoria, Wednesday, completing their mission to walk every street in the city.
The Pedestrians in Peoria, Mary Hosbrough and Jennifer Jacobsen-Wood, began the project two years ago in November 2019, right before the pandemic caused shutdowns across the country. Now, the duo said they have officially completed walking the city’s 1,439 streets, the last being Visco Dr in North Peoria.
Jacobsen-Wood said it’s been a positive experience exploring different neighborhoods and speaking to so many new people along the way.
“The main message when we talked to anybody that stopped us and asked us what we were doing, we asked them, ‘what do you like about Peoria,'” Jacobsen-Wood said. “Every single person said, ‘I love my neighbors,’ and that was just really heartening to hear.”
Hosbrough said the experience made her realize there are so many things she misses when running or driving. She said the walks have helped her slow down and appreciate her surroundings.
“Noticing all of the nature, all of the art, all of the…every little thing…it’s just been really eye-opening to see that there is always something interesting to see,” Hosbrough.
Hosbrough and Jacobsen-Wood said they’ve also grown more aware of how different communities across the city are living and struggling.
“Even though we were enjoying Peoria ourselves, and having a positive experience, we really wanted to acknowledge that people have different experiences too,” Hosbrough said.
Jacobsen-Wood said they would often see memorials and vigils for victims of homicide and violence on their walks. She said it was an eye-opening experience.
My experience living in the Center Bluff, people that live two blocks away from me live a very different life,” Jacobsen-Wood said.
The two encourage people interested in learning more about their city to try and get out for a walk.
“You don’t have to have a planned event, you don’t have to have something that you know is exciting and adventurous,” Hosbrough said. “Likely, if you just get out, you’ll enjoy yourself.”
The two said they will continue their walks whenever a new street opens up to the public. To follow their adventures, visit their Facebook page here.