More questions over proposed Wal-Mart at Peoria Stadium site

By Audrey Wise

June 13, 2013 Updated Jun 14, 2013 at 10:12 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- More details are coming out regarding a possible Wal-Mart Super Center development at the site of the current Peoria Stadium.

Peoria Attorneys representing Wal-Mart wrote a letter earlier this week addressed to District 150, the Peoria Park District and the City of Peoria. The letter explains Wal-Mart's desire to buy the roughly 80 acre site and build a Super Center. In order for that to happen, a lot of chips have to fall into place.

"There's not a lot of park space in that part of town, so you don't give that up lightly," said Peoria City Councilman Tim Riggenbach of the possible sale.

The land in question falls in Councilman Riggenbach's district. He has strong interest in the site's future and so do several other entities.

The Park district currently leases a portion of the land. Wal-Mart's attorneys are suggesting to move that area to an agreed upon location, likely closer to the Lake Street portion of the land. If they agree, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources also has to approve.

Wal-Mart would need the city to form a business district and be the go-between for a sale of the land.

Councilman Riggenbach said he is not against development. However, at this point, said he has more questions than answers, "How is the traffic of a supercenter going to impact the traffic of the already congested War Memorial? What's going to happen to the WalMart on North University now? Would there be a possibility of making that the Super Center? We have a neighborhood literally abudding this site, how is that going to impact their quality of life?"

Riggenbach said residents he has talked to are nearly unanimously against commercial development at that site.

Don Fries lives near the stadium. He said, "I'm not particularly happy about it. I'd just as soon it went somewhere else."

Even if all the chips fall with the other groups, Riggenbach said the council still has final say, "The City of course would have the say of any zoning changes, so we still hold the trump card."