'Good news' for the Warehouse District

Peoria Journal-Star

Federal funding for the Warehouse District remains intact. For now.

A spokeswoman with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Tuesday the $10 million for the city’s Warehouse District project will “not be rescinded under the final budget agreement” reached by congressional negotiators and President Obama on Friday.

“This is good news for Peoria and the future of the project,” Durbin’s spokeswoman Christina Mulka said.

She also said Durbin will work to “ensure that the funds are obligated as soon as possible.”

Of the $10 million from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, only $1 million has been obligated by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. That obligation essentially guarantees the money for engineer and design work for improving the side streets through the Warehouse District, located south of Downtown. No money has been obligated for construction.

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, on Tuesday said the remaining $9 million will be coming soon.

“There is nothing holding up this money now unless the Obama administration intends to go back on its word in awarding Peoria the TIGER II grant,” Schock said in a news release.

The grant, combined with state transportation and local money, allows for work to begin on revitalizing an area currently populated with underutilized or abandoned warehouse buildings. City officials and developers hope to transform the area into a development featuring apartments, condominiums and shops.

Congress and Obama agreed on nearly $40 billion in budget reductions shortly before the government was expected to shut down Friday.