Levee District continues to expand

By Audrey Wise

March 31, 2014 Updated Mar 31, 2014 at 10:10 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill -- East Peoria's Levee District continues to expand.

The original concept for the area came in the mid-90's, but it's really taken shape in the past five years.

After a very busy 2014 East Peoria City developers say there is still another year or two of solid development.

East Peoria resident Carol Plier said, "The restaurants are awesome and the shopping is really nice."

Plier is new to East Peoria and she's excited about the Levee District.

"Diva Nails is just a recent opening as well as the Shoe Department Encore.. We have Carter's as well as Lane Bryant which are going to open yet this spring," said, Ty Livingston, East Peoria's Director of Planning & Community Development.

Also coming in the next year McDonald's along Spindler Drive. Chick-Fil-A will be on Washington Street, but that location wasn't part of the original plan.

"I think the concern with drive-throughs is they can be unsightly in certain locations and that if they can really present a good landscaping plan, a good development and I think that's what Chick-Fil-A had to offer," said Livingston.

Commissioner Dan Decker said it was hard to make that exception, but that's what residents told him they wanted.

"Since I have little kids having a fast food restaurant would be convenient, said Washington resident Ali Cusmano, "but I think traffic over here can be a little congested this time of day. Once all those restaurants get in I would probably avoid lunchtime."

Another restaurant coming soon is Crust, an Italian pizza place.

Commissioner Decker said he's very happy with the how the project has come together. However, he wishes there could be more small, locally owned business, like Crust, in the mix.

There's more spaces available and he's hopeful those will come as the area continues to grow.

City officials expect more development announcements to come soon.

They hope to have a public green-space area, a residential component and possibly a new city hall.

Nearby, East Peoria officials are also working on more development in the 'four Corners district'.

It's the area at the intersection of Main Street and Springfield Road.

M C Sports and Planet Fitness are new businesses there, and Popeye's will be breaking ground soon next to the Hardee's.

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