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Peorians review proposed sites for passenger rail stations

PEORIA (WEEK) – The public was invited to speak Thursday on three potential sites for passenger rail stations in Peoria.

An open house was held at the Gateway Building, which is one of the proposed locations. The Post Office on State Street and River Station on SW Water Street are also considered possible stops for a rail line from Peoria to Chicago.

Community input is a key part of a preliminary planning study funded by the US Department of Transportation.

Alma Offutt likes the Gateway Building as a possible station site “because of the scenery and the convenience of the location”.

“No need to cross tracks either,” said Offutt.

Angie Ostaszewski objects to the use of River Station as a passenger rail stop because she does not want to lose the Farmer’s Market, which is located there.

“The Farmer’s Market is, I think, one of the biggest things that brings people to the riverside right now, and I wouldn’t want to disrupt that,” Ostaszewski said.

“I want to go there every weekend and I don’t want that to change,” she added.

A coalition of area leaders was formed last August to advocate for the establishment of passenger rail service in Peoria. The coalition is led by Mayor Rita Ali and former US Representative and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Other stakeholders including Bradley University, the Peoria Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Illinois Department of Transportation are part of the group.

Advocates note that Peoria is the largest city in Illinois without a commitment to passenger rail service.

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