On her visit to Peoria recently 17th District Congresswoman Cheri Bustos came bearing gifts. Bustos brought a long-awaited present to residents on Peoria’s Southside. She came bearing a $1 million dollar check from the federal government. The money will be used to demolish the old Harrison School on Krause Avenue. The old building has been closed for more than a decade. Peoria Mayor Rita Ali was among the leaders on hand to accept the check. Mayor Ali said with many of the windows broken on the old school building, people have used it as a dumping ground: “There are lots of tires that have been dumped inside this old building”.
The check Bustos delivered on April 21st adds more money to the demolition pot. Last November Peoria City Council members approved $2 million dollars of the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for use in the city’s 2022-2023 Biennial Budget to demolish both Harrison and McKinley Schools on the city’s Southside. First District City Councilwoman Denise Jackson said residents have been waiting a long time for this day to come.
“We are so excited to see money being put to good use. We are finally moving closer to tearing these old eyesores down. This will put us on the road to see more redevelopment coming to the Southside,” Jackson said.
Leaders said with the school set to go down, the old building will no longer cast a dim shadow over the new Harrison Learning Center on the opposite side of Krause Avenue. Congresswoman Bustos said old, condemned buildings are a problem for communities around the country.
“You all have made demolition of this building a big priority and we are glad to help,” Bustos said.
Peoria Community Development Director Joe Dulin said for the past two months testing has been done on both Harrison and McKinley to determine whether there is lead and asbestos inside the structures.
He said that work is still underway. Dulin said after testing is completed the city will issue request for proposals for cleanup. First District Councilwoman Jackson said she would like to see both structures demolished by the end of the summer.