PEORIA (WEEK) -- Come Tuesday, Peoria will have a new mayor. Rita Ali will succeed Jim Ardis, the man who's held the office for the past 16 years. Ardis first ran for the office in 2005, with the goal of improving not just the city, but also how it was run.
Jim Ardis first sat at the horseshoe in 1999 as an at-large councilmember. By 2005, he was at the head of the room.
"When I first got on the council, it was almost like it's Tuesday night, let's go get a six pack of beer and a bag of peanuts because the council is on tonight and it's going to be a good show," said Ardis.
That is why Jim Ardis made the decision to run for the seat.
"It was new generation of leadership, younger, energy, get more people involved and that kind of thing," he added.
He won that race, defeating incumbent David Ransburg. Since that election, Ardis said he believes the council is a body the city can be proud of.
"I think we had a significant positive impact on the downtown and the warehouse district."
Yet, some would say other parts of the city have continued to see little to no investment, like the south side. Ardis said he and the council have been limited by unfunded mandates from the state and federal governments.
"At the end of all that, we don't have as much money to go to the south side, or the north side, or any other part of the community."
Ardis said he is satisfied with all the votes he has cast, adding he made the best decision with info he had. But what about the redevelopment of the Pere Marquette? The developers were accused of defrauding investors, including the city. Still, Ardis said the renovations were worth it.
"When the economy comes back, the Pere Marquette will be back strong because of that, I still will argue that it was a very good project," said Ardis.
What about Caterpillar's departure? The company moved their headquarters from Peoria to Deerfield in 2017.
"I don't think it was anything that we did that caused that and I don't think there was anything that we couldve done to change their mind," he said.
Ardis says he'll miss being able to have a direct impact on the betterment of Peoria. However, he looks forward to all the council and the new mayor, Dr. Rita Ali, will be able to accomplish in the coming years. .