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University of Illinois Extension serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell Counties

Tazewell County
1505 Valle Vista Blvd
Pekin, IL 61554-6245
Phone: 309-347-6614
FAX: 309-347-5472
Email: uie-fmpt@illinois.edu
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed Noon - 1 pm)

Fulton County
15411 N IL 100 Highway
Lewistown, IL 61542-9468
Phone: 309-547-3711
FAX: 309-547-3713
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed Noon - 1 pm)

Mason County
127 S High St, Ste 1
Havana, IL 62644-1496
Phone: 309-543-3308
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed Noon - 1 pm)

Peoria County
4810 North Sheridan Rd
Peoria, IL 61614-5928
Phone: 309-685-3140
FAX: 309-685-3397
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed Noon - 1 pm)

Community and Economic Development

Community and Economic Development

Transformational Peoria Stormwater Farm Demonstrates Power of Connecting Design Thinking and Public Health Outcomes

On Oct. 26, the city of Peoria broke ground on a pilot project transforming vacant land on the city’s south side into a “stormwater farm” that will help manage chronic sewer overflows impacting low-income neighborhoods, while enhancing community health.

The effort is the culmination of more than a year of engagement and dialogue across a broad and diverse set of stakeholders, supported by a group of students and faculty from the University of Illinois School of Architecture and University of Illinois Extension, working with the city of Peoria’s Innovation Team.

Extension Educator Kathie Brown, based in Peoria, facilitated meetings between students and community members. “The students gain so much from these interactions. They talk to people from all walks of life – neighborhood residents, local engineers, and architects – people they don’t usually hear from as a part of classwork,” said Brown. “Extension can enrich the campus experience because of this collaborative engagement with the community.”

Students from several areas of study worked closely with the city to help groups of community members and diverse stakeholders think through solutions to Peoria’s stormwater infrastructure issues, starting with “How do we use design solutions to improve public health?”

Students used what they heard to design concepts for different ways to address the challenges, which went through further community input and refinement. The outcome was a set of solutions derived from the community and built around consensus on priorities — in the case of the south side stormwater farm, this meant creating a project that went beyond solving sewer overflows to include features such as urban agriculture and job training programs.

Brown says this collaboration is a boon to Peoria. “I always feel excited about the opportunity to engage with [University of Illinois] campus members because of the new ideas they bring to community groups, and the expertise they offer to help communities grapple with these tough issues.”

The Peoria project is an example of a growing national movement to connect design solutions to public health outcomes. The U of I is a member of the Design and Health Research Consortium, a collaboration of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) to advance university-led research in the area of design and health.

The collaboration between University of Illinois Extension and the College of Fine and Applied Arts is part of the Designing Healthy Communities Initiative, funded through the University of Illinois Extension and Outreach Initiative, with support from the University of Illinois Office of the Provost and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. 

Featured Websites

Local Resources and Information

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    North Central Regional Center for Rural Development case studies,explore factors related to a community's success in creating a resilient and vibrant downtown.

  • Farmington Case Study PDF
    North Central Regional Center for Rural Development research project develops a series of case studies,illustrating factors related to a community's success in creating a resilient and vibrant downtown.

  • Havana Health Career Opportunities PDF
    A key part of this effort involves providing more opportunities for young people to explore careers. Through engagement with local and regional health care providers, students have opportunities to be exposed to a wide array of health careers and begin to determine their personal affinity for a particular aspect of health care. Programming elements include introductions to health professionals in Havana who can serve as “health career coaches”, training on soft skills essential to a successful career, time spent on college campus, and time spent in a variety of health workplace settings. Havana Health Career Opportunity schedule includes 10 sessions. Each touch provides a valuable introduction to building a personal career identity and career pathway.

  • Healthy Neighborhood Revitalization PDF
    Healthy Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy provides a focus on improving mental and physical health for the Near North East Bluff Neighborhood in the city of Peoria. The study looked at effects that neighborhood quality,housing quality, housing affordability, social capital and green space have on mental and physical health.

  • Village of Dunlap RST 341 Community Recreation Planning PDF
    UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION, SPORT AND TOURISM PLANNING STUDIO

  • Village of Hanna City RST 341 Community Recreation Planning PDF
    U of I students from Professor Lara Browning’s recreation planning studio, along with University of Illinois Extension have been working alongside community leaders from Dunlap and Hanna City to develop an outdoor recreation plan for each of the communities. The plans will assist in creating a strategic vision for recreational services. Just as water, sewer, and public safety are considered essential public services, parks are vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in a community. Studies show that well-planned parks and recreation systems can serve as a catalyst for economic development. Access to parks and recreation facilities and active transportation infrastructure can increase property values, foster job creation, and provide a foundation for place-based economic development.

  • Village of Hanna City RST 341 Community Recreation Planning PDF
    UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION, SPORT AND TOURISM PLANNING STUDIO

  • Washington Historic Preservation Ordinance PDF
    Adopted at the April 4th Washington City Council meeting, this document identifies all historic properties and includes the text of the Design Guidelines.

  • Washington Square Commercial Historic District Design Review Guidelines PDF
    These guidelines were prepared in conjunction with the historic district nomination to guide future exterior changes to the buildings that constitute the local historic district. The guidelines build off of previous characteristics that the City mentioned as important in their prior preservation ordinance, explains those in more detail, and adds more detailed elements that will guide property owners and the Historic Preservation Commission in decisions for future changes within the square.

  • Washington Square Commercial Local Historic District Resource Book PDF
    The purpose of this final document is to assist property owners within the historic district to make decisions regarding changes to their structure, and have a document to consult to find experts in the preservation field. In addition to lists of contractors, consultants, and other experts, it includes a variety of the Preservation Briefs published by the National Park Service that explain important elements of historic buildings and give advice on how to maintain these elements, with or without an expert.

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