Peoria hires firm to oversee Pere Marquette Hotel project

By Joe Bennett

July 10, 2012 Updated Jul 10, 2012 at 10:45 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- A consulting firm has been hired to oversee the Pere Marquette Hotel project.

Council approved an agreement to pay no more than $110,000 to Dewberry Architects Incorporated.

Mayor Jim Ardis say the local firm has extensive knowledge in the area.

He adds the city does not have the staff to provide project review services.

"It's a logical thing to do," Ardis says. "This is a huge investment for the city of Peoria as well as the developer, and we just want to make sure that all of our funds that are being dispersed are paying for the things we're responsible for."

City Manager Patrick Urich says the firm will mostly approve pay-outs and make sure equal employment opportunities are provided.

This comes four months into the project redevelopment.

At-Large Councilman Gary Sandberg cast the only vote against the recommendation.

"The assurance with EEO, which is the only deliverable quite frankly you can count on, can be done more effectively," Sandberg argues.

Urich says, "The agreement with the developer contemplated that we would bring somebody on board, and it's just taken us this long to get to that point where we would have a firm that would bring it forward."

Also discussed at Tuesday's meeting was the possibility of converting both Adams and Jefferson downtown from one-way streets to two-way streets.

Council will discuss that issue further during the meeting on August 21st.

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