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Peoria, Twin-City leaders urge Pritzker to redraw map for quicker reopening

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner (file photo)

BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) - Illinois Governor JB Pritzker's administration has drawn a map dividing the state into four regions to phase-in a reopening of the state.

However, mayors of Peoria, Bloomington, Normal and other community leaders are asking Pritzker to reconfigure that map to speed up the process.

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner, at Monday night's city council meeting, said he participated in a conference call Friday with Peoria's Jim Ardis, Normal's Chris Koos, and several other area mayors to create a Heart of Illinois region.

Renner said the proposed change is "data driven" and includes 11 area counties including Peoria, McLean, Tazewell, Woodford, and McLean Counties.

"That's based on the number of hospital beds that we have, the number of COVID incidents that we have, and that our 11 counties have more in common with each other than they do in the regions that were originally drawn," Renner also said.

Council member Donna Boelen applauded the effort.

"I've actually been pushing to move it forward earlier, but I'm very glad you're moving it, addressing it, and asking the governor to allow us to open up here," said Boelen.

"I think we're ready," she said.

Gov. Pritzker has so far indicated he's not in favor of altering his original plan.

"I'll just say there are lots of ways that it could be done, but there needs to be a uniformity about how it will be done," Pritzker said Monday.

"We've broken it down into four regions allowing each one of them with the same set of metrics to perhaps be faster to move into another phase than another. That's why we put the plan forward as it is," he said.

"The goal here is to re-open the state as fast as possible in a safe fashion that saves as many lives as possible," said Pritzker.

Howard Packowitz

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