Mayor Ardis Announces Innovation Team’s Portfolio of Initiatives
Peoria, IL (May 12, 2016) – Today, Mayor Jim Ardis announced a range of initiatives aimed at addressing the city’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) issue while also improving quality of life in communities within the combined sewer area.
The city’s combined sewer system, built prior to 1930, carries both sanitary wastewater and stormwater. When rain or snowmelt overwhelm the system, around 20 to 30 times a year, the combined sewers overflow into the Illinois River creating a public health and environmental threat. In addition, neighborhoods within the roughly 8 square mile combined sewer area have experienced a dramatic decline in both socioeconomic conditions and quality of life over the past half century.
This portfolio of initiatives was developed by the city’s Innovation Team (i-team) in conjunction with city staff and other partners to tackle the CSO challenge while simultaneously improving the lives of residents. These initiatives are the result of nearly a year of research, community engagement, and partnership building.
Reflecting on these initiatives, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis noted that, “The City is looking at this infrastructure challenge through the lens of expanding opportunity. We will leverage this investment in our infrastructure to create a greener, stronger Peoria.”
The portfolio of initiatives was designed to enable the City and its residents to walk, grow and build toward that vision of a greener, stronger Peoria. These new programs include:
• A Complete, Green Streets Pilot – A project to retrofit streets to address the mobility and safety of all users while diverting stormwater from the combined sewers through green infrastructure.
• PeoriaCorps – A youth workforce training and career pathway program in green infrastructure maintenance.
• Green Your Block – A community-driven vacant lot greening program.
• A Natural Fit – A public education program addressing native plants and green infrastructure targeting children ages 6-12.
• Street Tree Program – An expanded street tree program to support both walkable streets and cost-effective stormwater management.
• Walk The Block – A community walking challenge to build community, promote public health and mitigate crime.
These programs highlight the important connection between the design of our built environment and quality of life. By creating a comprehensive and interconnected strategy to solve the technical CSO challenge, the city and partner organizations aim to create a more resilient Peoria.
Initiatives such as the Complete, Green Streets Pilot and Walk The Block are scheduled to launch this month with additional program launches anticipated in the next 12-18 months.
Peoria is one of nearly 20 cities around the world participating in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams program. The program aims to improve the capacity of City Halls to effectively design and implement new approaches that improve citizens’ lives. Using Bloomberg Philanthropies’ tested Innovation Delivery approach, i-teams help agency leaders and staff through a data-driven process to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results. The i-team will provide support as City staff and other partners lead implementation efforts.
For more information about the i-team’s work to date, the portfolio of initiatives, or to stay informed about future work, please visit www.peoriagov.org/innovation, www.facebook.com/peoriail, and follow @CityofPeoria_IL on Twitter. Additional questions can be directed to:
i-team Project Manager