Monday, July 19, 2021

Peoria Area Home Sales up 37 Percent in Second Quarter

  Peoria-area Home Sales Up 37 Percent in 2nd Quarter 

Home Sale Records Set Despite Low Inventory

July 14, 2021- Peoria, Illinois. Home sales in the Peoria area were 37.5 percent in the second quarter this year over the same period in 2020, according to the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS®.

Home sales totaled 2,304 in the period from April to June 2021, topping the 1,676 homes sold in the second quarter of 2020. 

"The biggest news is that we set new records for home sales in June and July in 2020 and have since exceeded the June 2020 numbers this year," said PAAR President Jason Catton. "Last year we broke our all-time record in June with 663 closings and then again in July with 741 closings. This year we set new records for June (681 sales) and July (818 sales)," he said. 

PAAR reported that the median sales price for the second quarter was $127,000, down slightly from the $127,500 median figure recorded for the second quarter last year. The average sales price for homes sold in the Peoria area over the second quarter this year was $154,466, up almost 5 percent from $147,272, the average sales price for the second quarter of 2020. 

The supply of homes on the market remains an issue, said Catton. "Supply over the second quarter is steady at 1.5 months, still the lowest on record," he said. A 1.5 month supply equals about 900 to 1,000 homes on the market at any given time. 

The PAAR President said the Peoria area mirrors the national home market in that, because of a low supply of homes, buyers often compete for homes that become available. "Buyers need to act fast in low inventory scenarios," suggested Catton. 

Not only are more homes selling in the Peoria area, they're selling faster, he said. 

"The pace of home sales is becoming much more rapid. Homes sold in the second quarter of this year averaged six to seven weeks on the market from listing date to an accepted offer. That's almost half the average of previous years," said Catton, noting that homes sold in 2019 and 2020 spent an average of 11 weeks on the market. 

Catton offered other tips to help consumers navigate a hot housing market. 

"Don't delay in making an appointment to view a home. Have a pre-qualification letter or proof of funds in hand prior to viewing homes, and if the home meets your requirements don't delay in getting your offer together," he said. 

Where Peoria differs from other areas around the country is in the cost of housing, said Catton. "Our region is still affordable," he said, referring to recent figures from the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of REALTORS® that stated national housing prices have risen over 20 percent in the past year. 

"Those who are looking to sell a home should reach out to a REALTOR® to better understand their current home's value and identify how much inventory is available that fits the criteria they are looking for," said Catton. The top cities for sales came in the region were Peoria (716 sales in the second quarter), Pekin (220 sales), Washington (167 sales), East Peoria (149 sales) and Macomb (110 sales). 

About Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® PAAR is the "Voice of Real Estate" for the Greater Peoria region, with over 800 members engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. PAAR advocates for all private property owners. REALTORS® are experts in guiding you in the decision to buy or sell; look for the R. More information on purchasing a home in the Peoria region can be found at Jason Catton, Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® President, is available for interviews. 


For more information, please contact Rebekah Williams, 309-688-8591 or Home Sales Records Set Despite Low Inventor

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Pekin Concert Band Begins 94th Season

Pekin Park Concert Band Begins 94th Season 

Today marks the first live music performance of the Pekin Park Concert Band in Pekin’s Mineral Springs Park, beginning at 6:30 p.m. This concert will mark the band’s 94th season and is free to the public.

The Pekin Park Concert Band formally incorporated in 1927. However, Civil War veteran musicians played regularly together near the Court House prior to this time, sponsored by a Pekin based cigar shop. The summer concert series has since become one of Pekin’s longest standing traditions.

The group has grown over the years to a professional concert band that plays throughout Central Illinois. Long-standing Director Steve Skinner celebrates leading the band for nearly 30 years. Despite being a trombone player, Skinner joined the band in 1967 when an opening was available for baritone. Skinner remarks this was the year the Pekin Park District debuted the “The Showmobile”, the portable stage that has been well-loved and heavily utilized at concerts, festivals and more throughout Central Illinois. After a long life, The Showmobile has been informally retired from performances this year as the Pekin Park District explores options to update and repair or replace the over 50-year-old unit.

“I think I played the first concert they had on it,” Skinner recalls. “I was maybe a freshman in college or so. We’re hoping this is temporary, as it does affect the sound. The players can’t hear each other as well. But we’re trying different seating arrangements and we’re getting through it.”

Despite not having the stage, Pekin Park Concert Band will still be playing adjacent to the Pavilion for about an hour and a half some Sunday evenings throughout the summer. Skinner has selected a variety of musical arrangements that include marches, slower tempo pieces, modern-recognizable classics like Disney songs and popular Broadway scores, and the band’s iconic theme: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

Skinner invites families of all ages to come out to the park for the concert. “When I was a child, I grew up in Washington, IL. There were several areas with municipal bands. They had [concerts] right there on the square. Where the fountain is now used to be a bandstand. That really piqued my interest and I ended up joining the musicians’ union as junior in high school.” Steve Skinner went on to have a full career in music spanning over 50 years and still counting.

Skinner also remarks the summer concert series may be a child’s first opportunity to hear a live musical performance. As a paid, professional band with full concert instrumentation, patrons can hear a variety of sounds. With everything from oboes to French horns, to baritones and more, this free event can spark a life-long interest in the arts.

The Pekin Park Concert Band play July 18th, July 25th and August 1st from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This is a free event to the public. Bring a lawn chair, or just come out to the Lagoon or playground area to enjoy the live performance of band. For more information about the band or updates regarding rain cancellations, visit their Facebook page .

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

City of Pekin Hires Public Works Director Justin Reeise


City of Pekin Hires Public Works Director Justin Reeise

Public Works Director Justin Reeise

Pekin, IL- The City of Pekin announces the hiring of a new Public Works Director: Justin Reeise. Reeise comes to the City of Pekin with 15 years experience in municipal infrastructure. Most recently, Justin Reeise served as the Municipal Section Manager for the Peoria area with Farnsworth Group. 

Director Reeise has professional work experience with the City of Pekin since 2007 on a range of projects, specifically including engineering on the City’s wastewater treatment plant upgrades. As Public Works Director, Reeise will oversee the Public Works divisions of the City including; streets and sewers, wastewater treatment, solid waste, public properties, fleet maintenance, municipal airport and engineering.  Through these divisions, Reeise will manage the planning, coordination, and implementation of infrastructure improvements, construction projects, and the repair and maintenance of streets, sewers, sewage treatment, and City properties.  

Reeise states, “I’m excited to join the City of Pekin as the new Public Works Director, where I look forward to bringing my experience and passion for municipal infrastructure to serve the City.  Throughout my 15 year municipal engineering career, I have worked with numerous communities throughout central Illinois, and I look forward to being able to support my hometown of Pekin in this new role.  I am lucky to be joining a strong Public Works staff and aim to deliver successful infrastructure improvements and maintenance projects to the City residents.” 

Friday, July 2, 2021

Reditus Laboratories, PAL Health Technologies Add to Staff


PEKIN – Reditus Laboratories and PAL Health Technologies have added to their growing team. Samantha Bolin has been named director of revenue cycle management for Reditus and PAL, Christine Hill has been named controller for both companies and Noah Christian is the new PAL production manager. 

Bolin has more than 20 years of billing and accounts receivable experience. She joined Reditus and PAL from Carle Health, where she was manager of regional accounts receivable and small business units. Before Carle, she was operations manager of Clinical Radiology Group in Springfield. 

Hill has more than seven years of public accounting experience, most recently as a senior associate at RSM, the fifth largest accounting firm in the United States. Prior to joining RSM, Hill worked for CLA. 

Christian has experience in education, training and working on standard operating procedures (SOPs). He taught in Peoria Public Schools for five years and at the Challenger Learning Center in Tallahassee, Fla., for nine months. He joined Reditus in Pekin in October 2020 and served in various positions before being named Reditus and PAL training coordinator in March. He was named PAL production manager on June 14. 

Reditus, 200 Enterprise Drive, Pekin, is a full-service laboratory company with a heavy focus on molecular diagnostics. PAL Health Technologies, 1805 Riverway Drive, Pekin, is a full-service manufacturer of prescription, hand-crafted foot orthotics, diabetic inserts and ankle-foot orthotics. 

More about Reditus- 

Reditus Laboratories is a full-service laboratory company with a heavy focus on molecular diagnostics. Based in Pekin, Illinois, Reditus provides top-tier, accurate anatomical and clinical pathology services, including cytology, histology and molecular testing. Reditus is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and is certified by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program. Additional information is at, as well as on Facebook at Reditus Laboratories and Twitter @ReditusLabs. PAL Health Technologies is a full-service manufacturer of prescription, hand-crafted foot orthoses, diabetic inserts and ankle-foot orthoses. Based in Pekin, Illinois, PAL Health Technologies has been a national leader in the field of functional foot orthoses since 1976. PAL uses the latest technology, including the Xtremity 3D by PAL scanning software to make sure each orthotic is custom-fabricated to each patient, and is continually innovating and introducing new products. Additional information is at and on Facebook at PAL Health Technologies

Paul Swiech, Reditus Laboratories 866-736-0002, ext. 941 

Thursday, July 1, 2021



Joint Tazewell County Clerk And City Of Pekin Project Will Improve Public Access To McKenzie Building

PEKIN, IL: The Tazewell County Clerk's Office held a Joint Press Conference with the City of Pekin on Thursday, July 1, at 10:00am at the entrance of the Tazewell County McKenzie Building in Downtown Pekin to announce construction efforts to improve handicap accessibility and parking around the vital Tazewell County Government Office Building.
The Tazewell County Clerk's Office announced Thursday that it has been awarded a $91,250 Federal Polling Place Accessibility (PPA) Grant by the Illinois State Board Of Elections. The Tazewell County Clerk's Office, in partnership with the Tazewell County Maintenance Department and City of Pekin, applied for 4 PPA Grants, 2 of which have been awarded. The total PPA Grant of $91,250 is planned to cover the complete cost of both projects, with no additional public funding required by either local government entity.
The purpose of the Polling Place Accessibility (“PPA”) Grant is to address areas of inaccessibility in Illinois’ Polling Places. Funding was prioritized to correct barriers to accessing polling places – working toward the goal that all Illinois voters are able to exercise their right to vote privately and independently. In total, $1 million has been awarded by the Illinois State Board Of Elections to Election Authorities to make Illinois Polling Places accessible to voters with disabilities. Every Election Authority was awarded some funds, but they were not able to fully fund every requested project. To this end, funding was first prioritized to remedy barriers to access polling places, second to fund temporary measures to meet compliance, third permanent measures to meet compliance, fourth voting booths and other “inside the polling place” features, and finally training programs.
The City of Pekin will take the lead to replace the current sidewalks leading up to the McKenzie Building and replace them with a new drive-up landing for handicap parking that will no longer have individuals wanting to visit the building exiting their vehicles onto the street. Additionally, a new ramp will be installed immediately at the entrance of the building. Finally, the sidewalks will be raised and leveled to the appropriate grading for improved handicap accessibility.
The Tazewell County Maintenance Department will take the lead on removal of the current Courthouse facing doorway of the McKenzie Building, leading to a parking lot between the McKenzie Building and Tazewell County Courthouse, which is currently not handicap accessible. The doorway will be replaced with an appropriate handicap accessible doorway. This is vital for traffic moving between the McKenzie Building and Tazewell County Courthouse.
Both Federal Grant Funded Projects will be completed within the next year and the cost of these 2 projects will be completely covered by the grant received by the Tazewell County Clerk's Office.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

City of Pekin TIF Redevelopment Agreements Approved

City of Pekin TIF Redevelopment Agreements Approved

Pekin, IL- At the June 29, 2021 Pekin City Council Meeting, six Tax Increment Financing Program (TIF) Redevelopment Agreements for area businesses were approved. Businesses were able to apply for this assistance during an application period beginning May 7, 2021 and ending June 4, 2021. Businesses were evaluated based on several factors including economic impact, risk assessment, fiscal impact, social impact. TIF is an economic development financing tool used by the City to assist businesses with projects in the downtown area; the Riverway Business Park, and along major commercial corridors such as Court Street, Derby Street, North 8th and Broadway. Although TIF provides funding for a portion of project costs, applicants are expected make their own capital contribution and be willing to obtain commercial financing if needed. 

Of the area businesses to apply, the following were approved for Agreements: Yesterday's Bar and Grill, Primo Strength and Conditioning, Steger's Furniture, IDUNNTHAT, Inc, 8th Street Sweet Spot, and SNH Investment. Applications were vetted first with the assistance of Civic Serv, a local software firm, that helped create a scoring system based on a questionnaire filled out by applicants.  Those results were then provided to the City’s Economic Development Advisory Committee for review and consideration and submitted to the City Council for approval.

“It’s great to see the City of Pekin making small business success a priority, especially with the challenges small businesses have faced due to COVID,” Steger's Furniture store representative Bryan Steger states. Steger's Furniture has recently begun building exterior updates to their storefront on Court Street.

SNH Investment, a real estate investment company operating within the Pekin area was also one of the Agreement recipients. Vice President Eric Hill states, "We are very excited for our approval of the new TIF loan. All of us at SNH would like to thank the City Council for their support. We look forward to utilizing these funds to help develop and grow our downtown community. Pekin is at the core of our business and we look forward to this new partnership with the city and are excited to bring a new business into our community."

The City of Pekin aimed to assist small businesses in this fiscal year. City Manager Mark Rothert says, “Small business is a cornerstone of any local economy. Monday’s action and leadership by the Mayor and City Council continues to show the City’s support and reinvestment into our business community.”

According to the City of Pekin's website, eligible expenses for developer reimbursement can include costs from architectural, engineering, legal, environmental, financial, planning, and other service needs.   For more information about the City of Pekin Tax Increment Financing program, visit their website.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Announcing a New Virtual Tool to Attract Investment to the Pekin South Industrial Park

 Announcing a New Virtual Tool to Attract Investment to the Pekin South Industrial Park

PEKIN – The City of Pekin and the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council (GPEDC) announce the release of a new marketing video to help attract businesses to invest in Pekin, Illinois. 

Pekin and the GPEDC worked with Baxter & Woodman, an engineering firm with offices in Peoria, Naperville, Chicago, and 3 states around the country, to produce a new marketing video that communicates assets of interest to businesses when they are researching a new business location. 

According to the GPEDC, businesses seeking new locations are looking to reduce time, money and risk when they are evaluating location options. To be a competitive location for investment, it is essential to communicate the site’s assets virtually to aid and support the decision making process. Communities are evaluated on their site availability, their utility capacity, their access/proximity to relevant suppliers, their talent pool, and the general quality of life and place. The more effectively we share that information with site selectors, the better our chances of being considered for investment. 

“The Pekin South Industrial property is one of the most marketable properties for site selection due to its utility capacity, its municipal ownership, and its general site readiness,” says Lenora Fisher, Director of Business Attraction at the GPEDC. “This site meets the criteria of 90% of the site searches to which we respond as a community. It’s a matter of time before the right buyer finds this hidden gem of a property and this video is designed to make that connection sooner than later. It will bring the site to life and help outsiders understand its value in a more dynamic way” 

“We are very proud of how well this video communicates the attractiveness of the Pekin South Industrial Park. We had a lot of information to pack into a short 2 minute video, and the Baxter & Woodman team exceeded expectations,” says Pekin City Manager, Mark Rothert. 

 Pekin South Industrial Park along with the video will be highlighted on a Featured Properties page of the GPEDC’s Data Hub and shared widely with site selectors across the country. It will also be featured prominently in the GPEDC’s social media channels. For more information on the video and site visit 

The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, is a public/private partnership serving the economic growth needs of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Logan, and Mason counties. The City of Pekin is a community of 32,846 people and is the seat of Tazewell County. Pekin is home to industry giants including Excalibur Seasonings, Pekin Insurance, Pacific Ethanol, Hanna Steel and more. Please direct any questions about the event to Lenora Fisher, Director of Business Attraction at the GPEDC by email at or by phone at 309-253- 6010.

First Annual Homeless Not Hopeless Sleep Out; Scholarships Available

The Salvation Army of Pekin 360 Life Center Hosts First Annual Homeless Not Hopeless Sleep Out 

The Salvation Army of Pekin 360 Life Center holds first Homeless Not Hopeless fundraiser in Mineral Springs Park Friday, July 16-17th. 

PEKIN, IL – Join The Salvation Army of Pekin 360 Life Center for their first annual Homeless Not Hopeless sleep out to raise awareness of local homeless individuals and families. This event, which is being held in Mineral Springs Park in Pekin, will begin Friday, July 16 at 6 p.m. and end Saturday, July 17 at 6 a.m. 
Registration is $25 for a single tent that can hold up to 2 adults and up to 4 children based on size of the tent. Scholarships are available for those people who would like to participate but cannot afford the registration fee.
“We recognize that not everyone who wants to participate may be able to afford the registration fee,” said Danielle Owens, Chair of The Salvation Army of Pekin 360 Life Center Advisory Council. “We have a limited number of scholarships available for people who want to attend. Contact Candace Burdette at (309) 346-3010 for more information.”
There are several ways the community can support The Salvation Army through this event:
  • Sign up to sleep in a tent in the park for $25
  • Sponsor the event as a Gold ($5,000), Silver ($2,500), Bronze ($1,000) or Red ($250 to $999) Level sponsor
  • Purchase an event t-shirt for $25
  • Pay for someone else to participate for $25 (you cannot join them in the Park but would like to pay for someone else to participate)
Current sponsors are: Deverman Advertising, Inc.; Excalibur Seasonings; Fort’s Toyota of Pekin; Pekin Insurance; Ray Dennison Chevrolet; and Screen Graphics.
The poverty rate in Tazewell County is just over 8.5%.  The Salvation Army provides vital resources for these individuals who have nowhere else to turn. Last year The Salvation Army of Pekin provided 1,643 nights of shelter.
“Our goal is not to just provide shelter for individuals and families who may be living out of their car; sleeping on friends’ couches; or on the streets,” said Major Heath Sells, Tri-County Coordinator for The Salvation Army. “We will also provide case management to help them work toward independence. Last year 80% of the individuals and families in our program moved to permanent and affordable housing.”
For more information, to register for the event or make a donation, visit their site at www.SalArmy.US/PekinSleepOut

Media Contact: 
Kathy Anderson
Tri-County Development Director
Phone: (309) 339-3849
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Friday, June 11, 2021

Illinois Moves to Phase 5, Final Restore Illinois Phase

Illinois Moves to Phase 5, Final Restore Illinois Phase

SPRINGFIELD – "Illinois will move to a full reopening, also known as Phase 5, the final phase of the Restore Illinois plan, on Friday, June 11, 2021. On Friday, the state will eliminate all capacity limits on businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, and all other venues. Mask requirements for vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals continue to align with CDC guidelines.
The state reaches this point as it records the lowest number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, the lowest test positivity rate, and more than 68% of Illinois residents age 18 and over who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
“A strong economy requires that people not only feel safe, but truly be safe, as they go about their lives as workers, neighbors, consumers, and friends – and thanks to the lifesaving power of vaccinations, that day is finally here for Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I invite all Illinoisans to feel the hope and joy of this moment while also recognizing that this pandemic is still very present for the world at large – not to mention those here at home who have not been or cannot be vaccinated. As we take this next step forward, let’s do so with a renewed commitment to empathy, to community, and to making each day together count. You did it, Illinois.”
Today the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting 366 new confirmed and probable cases, 764 people in the hospital with COVID-19, and a test positivity rate of 1.3%. These are some of the lowest COVID-19 statistics reported in Illinois to date. Additionally, IDPH is reporting 209 people with COVID-19 in the ICU and 103 people on ventilators. These are also some of the lowest counts we’ve seen since the pandemic began.
Currently, 11.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Illinois residents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting more than 68% of residents age 18 and older in Illinois have received at least one dose of vaccine and 51% of adults are fully vaccinated. Additionally, more than 88% of Illinois seniors have received at least one dose of vaccine.
“It is a very exciting time as we reach the point where businesses can operate without capacity limits and we are seeing the return of large events we’ve enjoyed in the past,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. 
“However, it is important to remember that we are still in a world pandemic and not everyone has the protection of one of the safest and most effective vaccines ever. Currently, there is not a vaccine authorized for children younger than 12 years and some adults have chosen not to be vaccinated. For these reasons, it is important for unvaccinated people to continue to wear masks while in public and to socially distance. The virus can continue to spread among unvaccinated individuals, which could lead to additional mutations and new, more virulent variants.”  
In accordance with guidance from the CDC, fully vaccinated people in Illinois can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. 
Consistent with CDC guidance, fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons are required to wear a face covering in certain situations including (1) on public transportation, planes, buses, trains, and in transportation hubs such as airports and train and bus stations; (2) in congregate facilities such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters; and (3) in health care settings. Individuals in schools and day cares must also continue to wear face coverings per guidance issued by the Illinois State Board of EducationIllinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
According to the CDC, it is critical that schools use and layer prevention strategies. Schools providing in-person instruction should prioritize two prevention strategies:
1. Universal and correct use of masks should be required; and
2. Physical distancing should be maximized to the greatest extent possible.
Municipalities and businesses in most industries may choose to continue to implement public health mitigations as they deem appropriate, including requiring face coverings. 
To help businesses recover from the pandemic, the Governor, in partnership with the General Assembly, announced $1.5 billion in funding next year to support business grants, tourism, workforce, affordable housing, violence prevention, capital projects and other investments throughout Illinois. This investment follows the $580 million invested last year for Business Interruption grants to aid businesses in pandemic impacted industries and childcare providers.
“Today’s advancement to Phase 5 is a significant milestone in our work to combat the virus and get the Illinois economy back on track. Through Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, we have continued to lead on testing, vaccines and providing economic relief programs that are essential to supporting the return of workers and businesses amid the pandemic,” said Acting DCEO Director Sylvia Garcia. “Now, as businesses are set to fully reopen across the state, DCEO remains committed to implementing key programs that will not only reinvigorate our small businesses, workforce, and tourism, but that will build back our state's economy stronger than ever before.”
Businesses and communities can learn more about Phase 5 recommended public health practices by visiting IDPH's website."

Marigold Festival Announces Grand Marshals


Marigold Festival Announces Grand Marshals

Greg and Gloria Ranney are Selected as 2021 Marigold Festival Grand Marshals


The Pekin Marigold Festival is proud to announce Greg and Gloria Ranney as the 2021 Grand Marshals. Greg and Gloria truly represent the best of our community. In-line with this year’s theme of “Marigolds Shine On”, Greg and Gloria have been a bright spot within Pekin for a number of years with their intense commitments to community programs.


Greg and Gloria Ranney, Pekin, IL
In 2020, Greg Ranney worked tirelessly to organize and open the new Pekin Outreach Center location: a daytime shelter for people experiencing homelessness. During a world-wide pandemic, creating a shelter that offered access to showers, laundry and adequate nutrition to a poverty level population was critical and a much-needed service in our community. Greg has volunteered with an extensive number of Pekin area organizations including TCRC, Pekin Rotary Club, Salvation Army, Pekin First Committee, Pekin Transportation Committee, and Pekin Grace United Methodist Church. He has served as a Pekin Park District Commissioner, an Illinois River Valley Special Recreation Pekin Park Board Representative, Executive Director of the Pekin United Way and the Vice President of Pekin Outreach Initiative.


Greg Ranney’s nomination reads, “Greg would be the first to tell you that no one succeeds alone.” As his long-time guide and advisor, Gloria Ranney has inspired her husband with her well-known past career as a highly respected local teacher and administrator. She has numerous volunteer commitments within the Pekin area, notably the Leadership in Snack Pack Program, delivering several hundred nutritional snacks every week for low-income district 108 students. Among her other commitments are the Grace CafĂ© Food Pantry, shift work with Pekin Outreach Initiative and helping Greg with all the aforementioned projects.


The title of Grand Marshal designates an honorary position within the festival. While duties of a Grand Marshal are all for fun, the title itself represents a strong dedication to the betterment of Pekin. Greg and Gloria have made an outstanding commitment to our community, and it is with great pride we announce their selection.

More About Pekin Marigold Festival: The Pekin Marigold Festival, hosted by the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, will be held September 9-12, 2021. This year’s festival marks a return of many anticipated events such as the Marigold Festival Parade sponsored by Busey Bank, annual carnival sponsored by Commerce Bank, Art in the Park sponsored by Vonderheide Floor Coverings and more. The Marigold Festival showcases community programs, supports local non-for-profits and features local entertainment and merchandise vendors.


For the latest information about The Marigold Festival, visit the blog or see updates on the Facebook and Instagram pages.


Media Contact:
Brittney Hogue

Communication Coordinator
Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce








Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Pekin Announces Downtown Street Party Kick Off


Pekin Announces Downtown Street Party Series

Pekin kicks off summer street party series with music, food and local business vendors.


Pekin, IL- The City of Pekin begins its Downtown Street Party Series June 19th from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the 500 block of Court Street. The first date will feature a concert from Stone Cold Cowboys, as well as area food, craft and merchandise vendors.

The Downtown Street Party series will be held as a block party within the historic downtown business district. Each event will feature live, outdoor music with June 19th showcasing local Peoria group Stone Cold Cowboys. Comprised of seven world-traveled musicians, Stone Cold Cowboys boasts of an authentic country sound, including fiddle and steel guitar. Future Street Party Series are slated for August 21st and September 25th.

This is a free event, sponsored by the City of Pekin’s Discover Pekin tourism endeavors. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own chair and check out the locally based craft and merchandise vendors including: Ravenwing Creations, Gray Raven Press, Haddads Lebanese, Grammananas, Sandy Kline, El Taco Rico and Krazy Krafts by Pam.

For more information about the Pekin Downtown Street Party Series, including vendor registration, contact Melanie Matthews at


Illinois Central College Fully Opens Campus

Illinois Central College Fully Opens Campus with In-Person Course Offerings for Fall 2021 

Illinois Central College will provide Fall 2021 course offerings aligned with student needs, including in-person classes, student activities and athletic events. Students can choose courses from five formats – In-person, Hybrid, Online Anytime, Online Scheduled, and/or face-to-face Clinicals and Internships.  
Regardless of the way students take classes at ICC, all will have access to both in-person and virtual support services, such as academic support, advising, counseling, free tutoring, library services, career advising and more. 
“We are providing our programs, as well as our campus activities, in-person when our students begin the fall semester on August 16. We will use insights gained over the past 15 months to align our programs and services with the modalities students desire,” said ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. “Due to their popularity, we will continue offering expanded virtual student services in addition to in-person services during normal business hours. I am excited about the future we are creating together to best serve students.”  

The Fall 2021 course formats are: 
In-Person is the traditional face-to-face, on-campus experience.  
Hybrid courses will include a combination of online lectures and in-person classes. 
Online Scheduled is an online class at a scheduled time. Students log in to their class at the scheduled times and participate in live, video-supported classes with their instructor and classmates, in addition to completing homework.  
Online Anytime is a traditional online course that does not require on-campus attendance. While there will still be regular and scheduled due dates for assignments, students are not required to log in at scheduled times each week to participate in class sessions, though they may be required to log in at specific scheduled times for exams or other assignments, like conferences. 
Clinical and Internship experiences will continue face-to-face at off-campus locations with hosting partners.  
“In a survey conducted by the College, we found almost half of ICC students preferred in-person classes. Likewise, almost half of the students wanted more courses offered with an online option,” said Dr. Quirk-Bailey. “Our fall schedule will meet these needs and allow students to design a flexible and effective schedule that fits their educational goals and preferences.” 
Dr. Quirk-Bailey added, “There has never been a better time to change your life at ICC. In addition to the expansion of course formats, ICC has more funding available now than ever before. State and federal COVID funding is allowing ICC to remove financial barriers for students. Whether someone is considering launching a new career, wanting to transfer debt-free, or looking to get certified quickly to join the workforce, I encourage them to reach out. Illinois Central College is here to help you build your future.” 
For more information, visit Class registration is available at 

ICC & Regional Workforce Alliance to Focus on Revitalizing Manufacturing in Central Illinois

Gilmore Foundation Announces Sponsorship & Matching Grant Challenge 

Supporting the Illinois Central College Manufacturing Workforce Equity Initiative: ICC & Regional Workforce Alliance to Focus on Revitalizing Manufacturing in Central Illinois 


The Regional Workforce Alliance, chaired by the CEO Council and Illinois Central College, is building regional momentum to revitalize the manufacturing industry in Central Illinois. The momentum is demonstrated by the ability of the Alliance, Illinois Central College, the Gilmore Foundation, and their partners to address regional deficiencies in the manufacturing workforce that inhibit manufacturer stabilization and expansion.   


In the Greater Peoria area, less than 40 percent of individuals over the age of 24 have a post-secondary credential while 60 percent of jobs require a credential beyond high school. The area’s manufacturing industry is second only to health care and employs 22,858 workers in 349 manufacturers across the ICC district. The industry is already experiencing sizable workforce gaps, with projected job growth at 6.3 percent from now through 2025. The Greater Peoria area has the required “raw materials” to revitalize manufacturing, including underemployed, under-credentialed individuals who need to be certified to expand the manufacturing workforce.   


“We are fully aware of the need to revitalize manufacturing here in Central Illinois and are committed to making it happen through community partnerships,” shared ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. “Today’s manufacturing worker requires a high-skill credential, which will provide a high-demand career with a family-sustaining wage. Earning that credential will not only change the trajectory of the individual’s lives, but also the lives of their families while growing the workforce, expanding manufacturing, and revitalizing the regional economy.” 


These initiatives will transform the regional manufacturing industry by expanding the manufacturing workforce at significant rates; supporting career pathways for upskilling the incumbent workforce and credentialing the emerging workforce; significantly reducing workforce development lead time; increasing capacity for manufacturing expansion and recruitment; and by providing a supported manufacturing pathway for our citizens of poverty and color, enhancing our equity agenda.  


Gilmore Foundation Announces Matching Grant Challenge for Manufacturing Workforce Equity Initiative    


Gilmore Foundation has joined the manufacturing revitalization movement by supporting the ICC Manufacturing Workforce Equity Initiative. The Foundation recently contributed a generous $435,000 grant to implement the initiative. One third of the amount will be received in the form of matching funds.    


“Gilmore Foundation is committed to job creation through projects which assist in the development of our community’s infrastructure. We are proud to invest in a movement to revitalize manufacturing in Central Illinois, while simultaneously transforming adults of color and poverty into credentialed manufacturing professionals,” said Gilmore Foundation President Laura Cullinan. “Our hope is that this matching grant will spark a unified giving effort in our community to invest in training and retaining talent in the tri-county area.”  


“We couldn’t be more pleased to have the support of the Gilmore Foundation for this new initiative,” said Dr. Quirk-Bailey. “Their investment allows us the opportunity to remove barriers for struggling and under-credentialed members of our community and make a life-changing impact.”  


 The ICC Manufacturing Workforce Equity Initiative addresses the local manufacturing workforce gaps and employment barriers in an effort to provide underserved individuals a full-time manufacturing job paying at least 30 percent above the regional living wage. It also focuses on improving workforce inclusivity within manufacturing. It will provide a credential and a living-wage job for adults residing in disproportionately impacted areas (low income, low employment, high crime). African American or low-income participants must represent a minimum of 66 percent of the population served by the grant.  


Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce and CEO Council President & CEO Joshua Gunn added, “The Regional Workforce Alliance and ICC are committing to major initiatives to revitalize manufacturing, including the Manufacturing Workforce Equity Initiative, the GPEAK essential skills project, the Workforce Sustainability Center, and a Manufacturing Academy. These four initiatives will foster advanced manufacturing excellence by meeting incumbent and emerging workers where they are, and aligning required skill sets with current and future employer needs.”   


ICC will provide Earn and Learn and Workforce Readiness skills programs, enhanced by pre-apprenticeship and essential skills training. Local community-based organizations will assist with case management and wrap-around support services to ensure student success.   


The Manufacturing Workforce Equity Initiative will train participants in the high-demand occupations of CNC Machine Operator, Production Welder, Welding Specialist, and Diesel-Powered Equipment Technician.  


Interested individuals can apply at or call (309) 690-7600. Additional information is available at Interested manufacturers looking to join the revitalization movement and sponsor a student can contact the ICC Educational Foundation at   



Kayla Thompson  
Lead Coordinator, 
Communications & Media Relations  
Cell: (309) 218-9933  
Media resources:  



Monday, June 7, 2021

Illinois American Water Names Angie Bell Director of Rates and Regulatory


Illinois American Water Names Angie Bell Director of Rates and Regulatory

Belleville, Ill. (June 3, 2021) – Illinois American Water announced today Angie Bell has been named Director of Rates and Regulatory. Bell will succeed Rich Kerckhove who retires next month after over 14 years of dedicated service.


In her new role, Bell is responsible for the successful administration of rate reviews, rate mechanism compliance filings and other key rate and regulatory matters for Illinois American Water. She reports to Illinois American Water’s President Justin Ladner, and will work from the corporate office in Belleville.


“We are pleased Angie has joined our team. She brings over a decade of experience and knowledge to this position,” said Justin Ladner, president of Illinois American Water. “We look forward to the leadership she will bring to the team based on her success, with key regulatory matters. We also congratulate Rich on his retirement and thank him for his contributions.”


Bell comes to Illinois American Water from CenterPoint Energy, where she worked for 15 years, most recently as Director of Regulatory and Rates. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Coker College in South Carolina.


About Illinois American Water - Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. 


With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to help make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Media Contact:  Karen Cotton, External Affairs Manager, 309.566-4126 or