PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A 10-acre park in Peoria’s Southside is getting a much-needed transformation using COVID-19 federal grants.
Peoria City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to allocate $600,000 to renovate Trewyn Park by the end of the year. The funds come from a Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 (CDBG-CV) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The conceptual plan includes a new $110,00 shelter with grills and picnic tables, $220,000 playground area and $120,000 basketball courts.
“We want to improve the quality of life of our citizens, so this was a great opportunity to address a neighborhood need,” said Peoria Mayor Rita Ali.
Ali said the upgraded park will keep kids busy and safe.
“I think it’s going to mean a lot for the young people to be able to have a safe, new environment… Overall, providing young people with quality activities that keep them from being bored, keep them from getting into trouble, or having that idle time is always a good way to reduce bad activities,” she said.
Emily Cahill, executive director of Peoria Park District, said the current basketball courts are located at the top of the hill. The new courts will be located in a flatter area on the north side of the park.
“I have heard so many stories over the last couple of months about kids who have to run down the hill to get the ball, and it slows the game down, and they always make the little kids do it,” she said.
Cahill said the refreshed park will help bring people together, drive down crime and increase property values.
“To provide social connectivity for people, it’s a gathering spot, it gives people spaces to play and spend time together,” she said. “We know that it helps to reduce crime, that parks really are safe places.”
Cahill said the atypical source of funds will get the project to the finish line in just one year.
“It allows us to make really critical improvements to the park on a faster timeline than we would’ve been able to do on our own,” she said.
The Peoria Park District Board is set to vote on the project on Feb. 1. Cahill said the next steps will be obtaining public input and bid documents.
Trewyn Park is one of the first five parks in the Peoria Park District system.