Does East Peoria have it right?

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, recently praised East Peoria as an example for every community in his district when it comes to economic development.

The East Peoria City Council, last month, approved the sale of $25 million in bonds and sales tax hikes in restricted areas to pay for the $200 million downtown development.

“I think it shows incredible leadership,” Schock said. “I think East Peoria has demonstrated how economic development can be effective without government subsidies or loans,” Schock said.

So, what is East Peoria doing?

Boiled down to its simplest terms the city is taking an aggressive approach to economic development after waiting for a huge tract of vacant land to be developed. The East Peoria City Council created a development and redevelopment plan to attract Target and Costco. The stores will be the anchors for the development.

“They put together their own plan without seeking a government bailout. East Peoria has a reputation for being business-friendly,” Schock said. “Mayor Mingus and previous administrations have made East Peoria attractive to business. They have attracted businesses others could not ... You don’t want to get the federal government involved in anything if you don’t have to.”

East Peoria Mayor Dave Mingus said Schock was right about East Peoria’s approach to economic development being an example to others.

“Municipalities and business should be as independent as possible,” Mingus said. “The only way to assure timely funding is to do it yourself.”

Mingus acknowledged that going it alone comes with risk.