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Neighbors and officials weigh in on proposed sites for Peoria Amtrak station

PEORIA (WEEK) – A proposal to resurrect passenger rail service in Peoria is one step closer to reality.

Last week, local leaders unveiled three finalist sites for the city’s new Amtrak station based on public feedback over the past few months.

“Three locations in the heart of downtown that could be connected to all the other amenities we have,” said Patrick Urich, City Manager of Peoria.

Suggested sites are the areas around the Gateway Building, River Station, and the downtown US Post Office. City officials note that existing structures will not necessarily be affected.

Part of the infrastructure for the new train line is already in place. The three proposed sites are located along the old Rock Island Rocket Line, parallel to the Peoria Riverfront.

Beth Reusch, vice president of sales for Discover Peoria, said the new line will be a win-win solution for residents, tourists and business travelers to and from River City.

“This will help increase the availability of how people travel for recreation, for Bradley University, and for all of our conventions at Peoria Civic Center,” Reusch said.

The city manager says each site has advantages and disadvantages, such as being closer to existing public transport or local restaurants and businesses. Downtown neighbors say that of the three, they prefer the Gateway Building.

“Keep it as close to Chicago as possible, so it doesn’t interfere with foot traffic or anything else here,” Peoria resident Rick Jeffs said.

“[It] help everybody,” said Peoria resident James McKee. “It’s right in the city center. It’s easy to get to. You have plenty of parking spaces.

The city is hosting a meeting Thursday to get more public input on the proposed sites and is seeking federal support to make the project a reality. It will be at the Gateway Building from 4-6 p.m.

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