Community Issues

Renaissance Park: Building in the District
W. Michael Bryant, Methodist Medical Center

At the March 15 Renaissance Park Commission meeting, a very visible sign of building our district emerged. The commission approved a special use variance for constructing the physician office building on the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP) campus. A special use was required because some of the property currently is zoned institutional and large-scale commercial.

The physician’s office building, tentatively named the Illinois Medical Center, will be approximately 110,000 square feet and will house at least three physician groups, comprised of 35 physicians. It will be located just off of Main Street on almost five acres of the medical school campus. Dr. Tom Rossi, clinical professor of Surgery at UICOMP and managing director of Peoria Surgical Group, spoke about the process and circumstances that led to their commitment to build the Illinois Medical Center in Renaissance Park, as well as the ongoing commitment to enhance residency education and commitment of clinical care to the greater Peoria area.

One enhancement of this project will be a stoplight installed at Globe Street, which will create a new entrance into the UICOMP campus. This should slow traffic along Main Street, which has been a concern of the commission since its inception. After entering the campus off of Main Street, the current Illini Drive off of Kumpf Boulevard will be extended, enabling patients to be dropped off at the front door of this new facility. The commission was pleased with efforts made to comply with the design standards we’ve worked hard to establish. The combination of brick with glass and stone masonry will be a very complementary look to the district.

We also heard an update on progress being made on another building—the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center. The building is ahead of schedule due to the warmer-than-normal weather we’ve enjoyed this winter. Because of the issue of a third floor addition to the Innovation Center, the commission met again March 27. At this meeting, the commission approved an amendment to the special use variance that allows the addition of this third floor.

Finally, the commission recommended that the Peoria City Council approve a Memorandum of Understanding with District 150. The parties’ intention is to develop a program proposal for the Math, Science and Technology Academy (MSTA). We agreed to undertake the research of such an institution and determine its applicability to the Peoria community.

Again, the commission is excited about this new relationship. While we’re thrilled that the highly visible activities are occurring in the Renaissance Park District through new buildings such as Illinois Medical Center and the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center, we’re also looking to enhance the neighborhoods and address social issues within our district as well. We want the Renaissance Park District to be an area where everyone is happy to live, work, play, and learn. IBI