PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) – Wednesday, Pekin Mayor Mark Luft delivered his 2022 State of the City address, showcasing efforts to make the city a better place to live and do business.

Pekin is getting back on track. That was the main message from Mayor Mark Luft, and shared with dozens of community members on Wednesday.

“Every community across the nation had to tap the brakes and things came to a halt. So, it’s very exciting to put out to the community things are moving forward, and we have developers back, we have businesses fully open again,” Luft said.

During his address, Mayor Luft highlighted several projects like the renovation of Court Street.

Luft also spotlighting an Amazon facility coming to North Pekin which is expected to create 250-500 jobs. While an exact timeline for the facility is unclear, exterior and interior work are underway.

“We created a residential TIF to draw those employees in, to draw management in,” Luft said.

New apartments are also in the work, including executive-style upper-end apartments being built at the intersection of Broadway Street and Ironwood Drive.

Luft said it’s been decades since apartments have been constructed in Pekin

“Excalibur, EXCEL, they fly people in, and it was painful to hear that they were going to other communities to stay because we didn’t have anywhere to accommodate them here,” Luft said.

The executive director of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, Amy McCoy, said they’re also seeing growth in the business community.

“We’re aware of several businesses that are either going to be building and starting new businesses, or starting their business in a vacant building downtown perhaps,” McCoy said.

McCoy said now the goal is attracting workers.

“We want our young people to have the opportunity to know about the careers and different opportunities that they have as they’re in junior high and high school. So we’re working with the schools and other organizations in our region,” McCoy said.

Luft also said within the next 5 years downtown Pekin will undergo major changes. This includes new construction, beautification work, and ADA upgrades