PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — In an effort to improve Peoria, the city council greenlit several items at Tuesday’s meeting.

A special use ordinance was approved to make an existing building an assisted living facility at 2020 West War Memorial Drive. Logan Park and Morton Square Park will receive upgrades thanks to $875,000 of Community Development Block Grant Funds allocated to the Peoria Park District.

The council also approved waiving the fees for food trucks and food carts for the remainder of 2023. In addition to the fee waiver food trucks can operate along the courthouse square block of Hamilton Boulevard and Adams Street. That vote passed 8 to 3 with Cyr, Oyler and Ruckriegel voting against the ordinance.

“I think it sends the wrong message to our restaurants downtown,” said Councilman Zachary Oyler. “I enjoy going to the food carts and the food trucks. And I think any of the owners that are here locally know that I frequent them. But the locations that these go and saying, ‘You don’t have to pay but you have to pay property taxes and stormwater fees is completely unfair.'”

A big part of the night was spent listening to two presentations. The first, was by the Greater Peoria Leadership Council regarding attracting and maintaining talent in Peoria.

According to their presentation, The GPLC will focus on “an immediate approach to executive recruitment with long-term talent attraction strategy, a current focus on Peoria branding as it applies to talent attraction and an internal communication plan to engage leaders and residents with a unified Positive Peoria message.”

The second presentation came from The Joint Commission on Racial Justice And Equity for the 2022 annual report about racial disparities in Peoria. The report provided data showcasing disparities in various topics including youth development, housing, environmental justice, health and technology.

According to the report “black drivers comprise 61% of the traffic stops in the City of Peoria, despite Blacks being only 27% of the population.” When it comes to key indicators of disparity in economic development the median household income for Whites is $63,100, for Blacks $30,400 and for Hispanics, $42,700. The report is just the first step to making Peoria a more equitable place to live.

Councilman Andre Allen said the theme for the night was collaboration.

“The two reports that we received tonight are interconnected to the growth and success of our region. When you talk about trying to attract and retain talent here in our region we have to address inequities that exist,” he said.