PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Residents and community leaders joined together Thursday for a Reducing Violence in the 61603 Community Forum. The event was held at the East Bluff Community Center.
It gave senior citizens in the community a chance to ask questions of Peoria Mayor Rita Ali and 3rd District City Council member Tim Riggenbach, who both believe the city is on the right track toward ending violence.
“There’s a lot of initiatives in place, both community-based and police-based initiatives and really working together like I’ve never seen it before,” Mayor Ali said.
The event was put on by the Peoria County Triad, which promotes relationships between senior citizens, law enforcement and businesses with health, safety, and welfare resources.
Organizations such as Heartland Health Services and the Peoria Fire Department were represented at the event. Jenny Winne, who is the Executive Director for the East Bluff Community Center, said the event was an opportunity for older community members to interact with city officials.
“With the violence that we’ve had in the community, it’s important for seniors to be aware, and I think this was a good opportunity where they can ask questions and talk with the mayor and with Councilman Riggenbach,” she said.
Mayor Ali noted that the questions brought up during the event will be addressed. She also highlighted the importance of senior citizens vocalizing their thoughts.
“They’ve seen generations, and they can hopefully bring generations to help come together and provide leadership,” Mayor Ali said.
She added that she sees senior citizens as community leaders, as they can provide mentorship to young people who don’t have as much life experience.
For Riggenbach, who represents the East Bluff as part of his district, ending violence won’t be a simple process but there’s hope for the future.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, it’s going to take some time, but we’re building that now and having that infrastructure in place is really the important thing,” he said.
There was also an awards ceremony for seniors in the 61603 area code. Awards included “Good Neighbor”, “Unsung Hero” and “Business of the Year”. This was the first time the event had been held.