PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – The Peoria city council has agreed to let the Peoria Civic Center borrow millions of dollars for upgrades. Tuesday night, the council decided to loan the Civic Center no more than $20.5 million.

The venue needs a total of $47 million in order to advance capital improvement plans, including upgrading the ice plant, roof, and a new scoreboard, among other changes. Some of that cost has already been secured with the help of a $25 million dollar grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The additional funding comes as community members are fighting to keep the Peoria Rivermen playing hockey at the Peoria Civic Center. The team’s contract with the facility ends on May 31. Ice plant repairs for the Civic Center will not be discussed until an agreement is reached between the hockey team and the facility.

Also, council members voted to deny an ordinance for a special use in a single-family residential area for a solar utility facility. The proposed location for the six-acre solar farm was at 3901 Reservoir Boulevard.

Reverend Jonathan Thomas of St. Paul’s Episcopal church spoke in favor of the solar farm saying it helps with issues council members care about.

“It creates jobs and tax revenue and frankly draws very little in city resources in return. It helps our environment and creates equity. It’s innovative and helps move Peoria toward being a leader in new energy. Which we can and should be,” he said. “It uses private investment on private land to help people with their monthly budgets instead of relying on a government handout. And it creates community through our engagement.”

The location is in Councilman Andre Allen’s district. He made the motion to deny the ordinance. The motion passed with a 7 to 4 vote. Allen said he is open to helping find alternative locations for urban solar farms.

“I am not anti-solar or anti-renewable energy alternatives. But I am pro District 4 and my constituents,” said Allen.