District 150 officials, residents discuss potential sale of Peoria Stadium

By Audrey Williams

June 17, 2013 Updated Jun 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Monday night the District 150 School board discussed for the first time publicly the possible sale and development of the Peoria Stadium property.

A strong showing of community members voiced concern over Wal-Mart's interest in the 80 acre site to build a new super center.

The meeting was filled with emotion from area neighbors and interested citizens.

"That should be kept green and this community should demand that it's kept green," said an emotionally charged Peoria resident, Terry Knapp.

District 150 Interim Treasurer David Kinney said with a rocky financial outlook, District officials need to look at all options.

"Nobody wants more taxes, but somewhere here we've got to find other sources of revenues for our facilities," said Kinney.

He says it's time the District look at the potential value of the land and if they could and should maintain it.

Next year only two schools will use the football field.

Kinney said attendance at games is dropping and the revenue is too small to justify the long list of costly repairs that are needed, "At the low end I think we'd need to look at $1,156,000 basically to a range of about $2.3 million."

Board member Laura Patelle told concerned citizens she too does not want a big box store in that location, but it seems the board is stuck between a rock and a hard place with this property.

"We are having trouble affording educating our students, we can't run a park," said Patelle.

She also offered those citizens a suggestion if they truly want to keep the space green.

She said, "Any development that you're going to convince my fellow board members to adopt is going to have to address this issue of the property tax revenue stream that the district could get by selling this to a corporate developer."

Treasurer Kinney said the District is no where near a decision on this issue and has not even met with Wal-Mart officials.