PEORIA - A successful year for Central Illinois businesses, organizations, and non-profits.
That's what Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis touted at his annual State of the City Address on Thursday.
Mayor Ardis also spoke about the issues facing the city. From pension reform, to consumer hesitation when it comes to shopping local. He also highlighted Peoria's change of direction two years after Caterpillar's announcement to move its headquarters out of the River City.
"Although manufacturing has been the employment foundation in our community for decades, we've been blessed to have a robust and flourishing healthcare sector taking the lead as the major employer," said Mayor Ardis.
Healthcare projects that are planned, underway, or finished represent nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in investments.
But Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says business development in Peoria goes further than just the medical field.
"Autonomous Stuff has now enabled thousands of global customers with their automated driving initiatives," said Ardis.
And for local businesses to thrive, Ardis says cities in Central Illinois need to be strong to keep existing businesses, and attract new ones.
"Just like Autonomous based in Morton, new developments in Peoria Heights are good for them and for the region."
Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Griffin says the state of Peoria is positive, and the future is very bright.
"The thread we have in innovation and inventions in Peoria, what's our future look like with that? Manufacturing is changing but how does engineering and innovation apply to agriculture," said Griffin.
Mayor Ardis has a call to action that goes further than just city leaders. One that applies to each Peoria resident.
"Neither myself nor the city council or any one group is going to single handedly change the negative narrative. Every person and every business in this community needs to stand up and tell the story about what you and your business are doing and how it makes Peoria a better community."
Ardis also added many exciting new projects in the Warehouse District coming up this spring. And that call to action, Ardis encourages the residents to ask themselves, "What are we doing to promote what's happening in Peoria?"
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