This front page header appeared in the Journal Star on June 18, 2009. "Census report show Peoria County loses population, while Tazewell and Woodford (Counties) experience increases." "Peoria County population decreased by about 500 people between 2000 and 2007", said the writer. The article quoted reasons (excuses?) by public officials but if you are a consistent reader of my blogs over the past years, I have spelled out the real reasons. Inconsistent leadership, big egos sparking a wave of spending on enhancements people living in other areas can visit without paying what can only be rapidly rising Peoria County and City property taxes. Taxes to pay for what is being built, or has recently been built or is on the "to be built" horizon like the Marriott, the PRM, the new County Nursing Home (you do not need to live in Peoria County to live in the Peoria County Nursing Home), the new $100 to $300 million in mandated new sewer systems, a failing and aged public water system infrastructure, a new Peoria Park District Headquarters, a possible jail expansion and a couple dozen new projects on all public officials wish list such as a Minority Opportunity Center, Eagle Point, redesign of our downtown, interest and principal and interest payments on failed tax-supported projects like Midtown Cub Food and FireFly.
Not to mention the real or perceived reputation of Peoria Public School District #150. And millions for trails that NO DOUBT will cause people to move to Peoria by the hundreds - thousands? While our streets, curbs, highways, sidewalks, etc. are in the worst condition of my memory. And certainly more empty business buildings that I have seen in Peoria in my memory. And City pensions moving out of sight with other public body pensions and health benefits catching up.
The JS writer gathered this information from the U.S. Census Bureau. The new census will give more data but my observations are what growth there is in Peoria is on shrinking farm land in the Northwest sections of the City of Peoria.