Philanthropist Kim Blickenstaff receives award for historical preservation efforts

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria-area entrepreneur and philanthropist received an award from the Peoria Historical Society for his efforts to preserve local historical buildings on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Kim Blickenstaff accepted the 2020 Historic Preservation Award inside the the 10,000 square foot Scottish Rite Theatre, originally built in 1924. The award honors individuals and organizations that demonstrate commitment to “reclaim, rehabilitate and preserve the architecture, neighborhoods and landscapes of the tri-county area.”

Characterized by its flying buttresses and stained glass windows, the Scottish Rite Theatre is one of numerous restoration projects undertaken Blickenstaff’s company, KDB Group. Other projects include the Betty Jayne Brimmer Center for the Performing Arts, Sankoty Lakes, and Al Fresco Park, to name a few.

“Kim Blickenstaff is not only preserving history, but he’s showing deep respect for the original architects, builders, and owners,” said Colleen Johnson, Executive Director of the Peoria Historical Society.

Blickenstaff put $6 million of his own money towards the restoration, with painstaking attention to detail.

The goal, he said, is to turn Peoria into a destination city attracting musical and theatre acts. Staff are booking acts for the spring and summer, and A Christmas Carol is coming for the holidays.

The Historic Preservation Award was created in 1988 to advance the society’s mission to “preserve, share and celebrate the stories of the Peoria area.”

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