PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill. (WMBD) — On Tuesday, March 16, the Village of Peoria Heights received the “Building a Better Community” award from “Better Built.”
“Better Built” is a partnership between local union contractors in Central Illinois. They recognized Peoria Heights for its uptake in economic development over the past few years. Along with the financial growth, they recognized how it helped local workers.
“One of the reasons we were recognized is because we have a lot of economic development going on in Peoria Heights,” said Michael Phelan, Mayor of Peoria Heights. “The board has taken a position that if there’s going to be public funds invested in the development, that we want those contractors to pay a living wage to the workers working on that project, so it’s a win for everyone involved.”
Workers also receive benefits like pensions and healthcare.
“The workers could come from any local contractor but I can tell you that there are several hundred people in Peoria Heights who work in the local construction trade,” Phelan said. “We’ve been trying to do everything to foster economic development in Peoria Heights. It’s important to us for a lot of reasons. One is that we operate primarily on the revenue side, in sales tax, that helps us pay our bills. But a secondary goal of the economic development is that we provide living wage jobs to people. That’s another one of our goals and our efforts for economic development.”
Phelan said more development is in the works for Peoria Heights, and he is optimistic for the year ahead. He said several projects will be brought before the zoning board very soon, including some work on Illinois Route 29 (or Galena Road).
In a statement, “Better Built” Assistant Director Jimmy Dillon said, “It was a no-brainer to nominate the Heights for everything that they’ve done in trying to make the Peoria region and the Heights a better place to live and go to work.”