Peoria leaders meet with MacArthur Plaza Investments representatives hoping to end crime in the area

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — In a follow-up to a story WMBD shared Monday, Peoria leaders are taking action to end violence at one of the city’s hot spots.

Community members have said the Shell gas station on North MacArthur Highway is known for attracting trouble at times. It was also the scene for the city’s eighth homicide of the year on Sunday, May 9.

City leaders said they held a Zoom meeting Wednesday with a representative of MacArthur Plaza Investments in an effort to reach common ground.

Denise Jackson, First District City Councilwoman, said the city’s police chief, activists, and assistant director of community development were all present during the meeting.

“Initially, we thought we were going to meet with the attorney, but apparently we were told they no longer have the person we thought was the attorney,” Jackson said. “We did meet with a gentleman by the name of Harry, he is the manager of MacArthur Plaza Investments, that’s what he said ‘the manager.”

Jackson said during the meeting they learned the person who owns the gas station, the tenant, is separate from the owners of the plaza and they’re following up to get the name of the gas station’s owner to bring them into the conversation.

She also said during Wednesday’s Zoom meeting, they asked the representative from MacArthur Plaza Investments for four requests, hoping it would be a start in cutting down the violence in the area.

“We asked them if they could close the property at 11 p.m. and open for business at 6 a.m.,” Jackson said. “We also asked them if they could put barriers or chains around the entrances to the property overnight because it is private property. That would prevent any cars from just coming around and loitering throughout the overnight hours.”

“We also asked if they could make a significant investment in maintaining the property, it has just been hammered with citations for littering,” Jackson said. “Lastly, we asked if they could provide us with security during regular daytime operating hours, that’s a big concern.”

Jackson said people have told city officials they no longer come to the gas station or businesses in the plaza because of safety concerns. She said they expect to have a follow-up next week.

“The gentleman, representative we spoke to, said he would need a few days to reach out to each of the tenants and he promised that he would provide us with an update on Monday,” Jackson said.

WMBD reached out to the gas station’s owner and representatives from MacArthur Plaza Investments and did not hear back.

She said going forward there will be discussions for city leaders to present a “plan of operation” to businesses considered “nuisances” in the city. She said the plan would outline procedures that have to be in place to maintain a high quality of service for people who come in and out of those facilities.

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