Monday, April 6, 2009
I am not in the 1st District and for that reason I don’t usually pay much attention to what is going on there. However, as the City of Peoria has become smaller and more crime infested, would it not behoove us all to begin caring about the whole picture and not just what is happening in our own little neighborhoods?
In Mid March the City received stimulus money through the community development block grant (CDBG). Although the City Council had placed sidewalk fixes and the sewer overflow projects on the top of the priority list, the City administration's suggestion was to use the stimulus monies to pay for improvements to fire stations 3 and 8, repair of the Center for Prevention of Abuse's roof, and for more handicap ramps to be installed throughout the city. The Council voted in favor 10-1 with no discussion (At-Large Councilman Gary Sandberg voted against it).
Recently I took the opportunity to express to 1st District Councilman Clyde Gulley, whose District could have seen new sidewalks and sewers, my disappointment in his vote for use of the stimulus monies. When I asked him what his thinking was behind the vote, Mr. Gulley stated “I voted for the CDBG because the deck was stacked and I could not win.” He went on to say “but I have not gave up, what you may know is before the meeting I figured another way to complete the project....stay tuned.” Actually, I did not know that Councilman Gulley had figured out another way – but I will definitely stay tuned to see what he has in store.
I also took the opportunity to ask Councilman Gulley a couple of other questions:
What are your hopes for the 1st District?
The hopes for the first District are clear. We would like this old section of the city to have the same investment as the other parts of the city. That means that people enjoy and want to live work and play in the 1st District. We have continued to attempt to overcome the negative perception /and realities of the blight and crime. However, though it may be bad in some areas it is not the sum of it all. We have great business, people, and properties in the district and we hope to make sure that they have the opportunity to grow and prosper.
What are some of things that you will be looking to make happen?
What I would like to make happen is the first change the perception of the 1st District. I work on this every day. Second to see many of the projects that only for years have been talked about, I like to see them completed. If you follow my comments you can see that I have been working ....a lot behind the cameras to move our agenda forward. Look at where we are with Route 24 a/k/a Southern Gateway ($10 million dollar allocation); Harrison School $20 million dollar project starting next week; Harrison Homes Reconstruction ($4 million stimulus, $1.3 allocation) starting this September; Martin Luther King Reconstruction (under opportunity acquisition); and a developing Project. The Warehouse District and the new street reconstruction are part of the $10 million from the State capital budget, just to name a few projects that we like to see completed.
I also asked Councilman Gulley to comment on the crime levels in the 1st District; and the Parental Responsibility Ordinance. He stated that he did have a comment on both issues, but would have to address them at another time, as he was in a hurry.