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As flood waters recede, changes come to the Peoria RiverPlex

Flooding along the Illinois River has impacted areas across Central Illinois, including the Peoria Riverfront. As the worst comes to an end, the Peoria Park District is making some changes after they’ve seen part of their property at the RiverPlex under water yet again.

Behind the Peoria RiverPlex the outdoor aquatic playground has once again flooded. That combined with low use is why the Peoria Park District said they are tearing it down.

“It is expensive to maintain, the pumps that are used do have issues when there is flooding and so we have replaced these pumps a number of times at this point it is cost prohibitive for us to keep a feature people really don’t use regularly.” said executive director of the Peoria Park District Emily Cahill

They plan to revitalize it into a open green space used for a variety of outdoor activities.

“We look forward to having it be a functional space that can be used year round in a more productive way.” said Cahill

Another change at the Riverfront was the demolition of the south side of the Rolling River Playground. The park district is going to use this space as part of a concert venue on the Riverfront with construction to the bridge coming next year.

“So concerts instead of being underneath the bridge facing north they’re going to flip this year and be facing south with our back against the RiverPlex so that change in the playground also helps to give more space for those larger concerts.” said Cahill

The Rolling River Playground was built in 2001 and while 75 % of it remain, Cahill said it’s nearing an end, but the conversations have just started.

“The city is going through a master planning process for how to make sure all the amenities of the Riverfront flow together nicely so that conversation is a part of that we want to make sure there are play opportunities on the Riverfront but it has to make sense through the whole continuity from bridge to bridge and beyond.” said Cahill

There are still some parts of the Riverfront that are closed and the Park District said that once the river rescinds they will quickly begin cleaning up to make sure the people can enjoy the Riverfront.

Kaitlin Pearson

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