Longtime business owner concerned over Warehouse District construction

By WEEK Producer

June 6, 2013 Updated Dec 6, 2013 at 7:20 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The Warehouse District improvement project in downtown Peoria causing some growing pains for one longtime business owner.

Washington Street business owner John Coker says the planned closure for road improvements in front of his company could be confusing for customers trying to access his front entrance.

"You never know quite what street is going to be closed when you come in to work in the morning but we appreciate people coming down and fighting the crowd, fighting the construction," said Coker. "We're gonna do all we can to help people find their way in here with the help of the city."

Beginning Tuesday, June 11, Washington Street, between State and Persimmon, will close for road improvements. Public works crews will put up signs directing drivers to Commercial Street which runs behind Coker's business.

He contacted First District City Councilwoman Denise Moore, who stepped in to help facilitate with a contingency plan.

"Public works already had a plan, they already knew what was going to happen," said Moore. "Everybody connected to the process knew what they were going to be doing."

"It's real important to the city of Peoria that folks understand businesses down on the riverfront and builder's warehouse is one of our biggest retail operations, that they know they are open for business," said Coker.

Work is expected to take approximately one year. Coker says it is all worth it but he wants to make sure his business does not suffer, especially during his peak season as well.