President’s Message

The new year will be upon us and people make all types of resolution. Here are some resolutions I’d like to suggest we all consider for our neighborhood. Some of these ideas for comes from the Better Block project and from writer Sarah Goodyear.

Plant something…or plant more
Green, living things can radically change people’s moods and health. A tree or a flower brings great happiness, and it can connect you to the people in your neighborhood.

Pick up litter
This one is easy. Sadly, no matter where you live, there’s likely to be litter. Maybe it’s blowing around on the sidewalk. Maybe it’s dumped by the side of a street. If the debris not too horribly disgusting — some newspaper, a chips bag, a plastic bag, an empty bottle — just pick it up and dispose of it properly. This is probably the single easiest good deed to perform in any place in the world.

Get to know your neighbors
Really, even the irritating ones. Say hello and get a conversation started.

Find out who your government representatives are.
All of them. State, federal, county and city. Then, when you have a problem, you know who to go to to get it fixed.

If you see something, say something.
Something doesn’t look right? Properties in disrepair? Trash not being picked up? The city of Peoria has a service and app called Peoria Cares. Download it or call 309.494.CARE. Call the Peoria Police Department non-emergency number, 309.673.4521 or call 9-1-1 in emergency situation. Not sure who to connect with? Visit the Heart of Illinois 2-1-1 website at 211hoi.org.

Shop locally
The vitality of neighborhoods exist in a number of amenities including neighborhood business. We have a variety of local business along Main St. and in West Peoria that add to the vitality of our community and the wealth of our city.

Go for a walk
We have a great neighborhood with runners and bikers and dog walkers. Get out and enjoy what we have!

Build a Little Free Library
Build a Little Free Library next to the sidewalk that runs alongside your house to the park. Little Free Libraries are free book exchanges that promote literacy and a sense of community.

Visit a Senior or Shut-In
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 11 million people over the age of 65 live alone. While living alone doesn’t necessary mean that someone is socially isolated, far too many older adults are. Isolation can affect physical and mental health, make seniors more vulnerable to elder abuse, and make them more vulnerable during natural disasters, dangerous weather, and other crises too.

Councilman Chuck Grayeb

As we conclude 2017 and ring in 2018, we have much to be thankful for!

A new brownstone development on West Moss, the Central Illinois Ballet in the old Foster/Jacob building, and more projects just around the corner.

We have concluded a biennial budget which has a human face,  and we will continue to work hard to rectify the many difficult issues in Springfield and Washington, D.C., which impact our local budget. These influences are extrinsic to us but impact us all.

In 2018 the new Douglas A. MacArthur Bridge project will begin.

We also will continue to bear witness to the erection of The Convergence Center on the Bradley Campus — a lasting legacy for Peoria and Bradley University. Just as importantly, we will make plans to rebuild Main Street, making it more pedestrian friendly and the continued focal point for our vibrant West Bluff and Peoria area.

The 650 million dollar multi-year federal defense contract will continue to mean many jobs for Central Illinoisans who work at the East Peoria defense facility. I want to thank all of you for making us a great neighborhood and want to thank Brian Buralli, our dedicated President, and our NPO, Adrian Aguilar, for their tireless efforts to make our neighborhood one of the best in our nation.

Finally, we are fortunate to have Councilors Jensen, Rand, and  Ruckriegel as dedicated public servants who assist us in the maintenance of a high quality of life in the Moss/ Bradley area.

From my Family to yours, I wish you Happy Holidays and a very prosperous New Year!

 

Key HVAC Maintenance Tips for Fall and Winter

During those cold winter nights, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system becomes the most valuable commodity in your home. But if it’s running poorly, that means less comfort and higher energy bills for homeowners. Heating your home and producing hot water are generally the largest energy expenses for any homeowner, so you can ensure your home heating bill remains as reasonable as possible by supporting your HVAC system and keeping it running properly.

Change the Air Filter and Clean the Vents

Changing the air filter every month is one of the most important things you can do to support your HVAC system. It’s also one of the easiest. The filter should be checked every month and replaced if it is dirty. Filters should be replaced at the very least every three months – no matter what. Keep up with this simple project by choosing a regular day to check the filter, such as the first or last day of the month.

Have It Inspected

Yearly service of your HVAC system ensures it runs properly. Homeowners should have the system inspected in the fall to best prepare it for the demands of winter. The Department of Energy website offers a list of helpful instructions to help homeowners find the right contractor for their needs.

If Your HVAC System is Ancient, Replace It

Replacing the home’s HVAC system is an expensive proposition, but if your system is old and inefficient, the added comfort and financial benefits of a new system can be very real. If your system is more than 10 years old, you should ask a service technician’s opinion on the longevity of your system. Replacing it with an Energy Star model could reduce your home’s annual energy bill by as much as 30 percent, per EnergyStar.gov.

Sufficiently Insulate the Attic

One of the easiest ways to help your HVAC system operate at peak performance is to lighten its load. Insulating the home’s attic keeps warm air in the home and prevents it from escaping outside. This allows your HVAC system to do less and still maintain the home’s proper temperature. Per EnergyStar.gov, a simple visual test will determine whether the home’s attic is sufficiently insulated. According to their recommendation, insulation in the attic should be high enough to obstruct the view of the floor joists. If this is the case, additional insulation will offer little to no benefit.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat provides the technology to allow you to set the temperature in your home for every hour of the day, and it will keep to that schedule, day after day, week after week. Plus, depending upon the device, you can even adjust the temperature from your smartphone, meaning you can tweak the settings of your home thermostat wherever and whenever you might be.

 

Winter Care for Older Adults

Winter is an important time to check on older adult family members, friends, and neighbors to ensure they stay safe throughout the season. In addition to colder temperatures and snow, winter weather can bring an increased risk of health problems and injuries to older adults.

The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness offers tips to consider when helping older adults this winter:

  • Falls are a concern for everyone, especially for older adults. Putting road salt, cat litter, or sand on sidewalks, steps, and driveways will make these areas as slip-free as possible. Non-slip shoes are also a great way to help older adults navigate slippery conditions.
  • Cold temperatures make older adults susceptible to hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature. Learn the warning signs of this weather related illness and how to prevent it.
  • Shoveling can put too much strain on the heart. Older adults, especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure, should leave snow shoveling to others.

If you do not live near your older adult family members, it may be helpful to create a plan about how you’ll connect with them during an emergency. Download and complete the Family Emergency Communication Plan from America’s PrepareAthon! and share it with your family today.

Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

 

President’s Message

Reflections on a year that has passed us by all too quickly….

It feels like we were all just gathering for our annual July Fourth celebration, which by the way had 183 people in attendance according to Paul Masick, our resident statistician.  But we all know better than that to assume time has stood still for us.

The one topic that continued to dominate our conversations this past year was traffic.  Speeding, in particular.  The city has installed a number of traffic calming devices throughout the neighborhood over the past 24 months.  Yet we still see people driving with no regard for safety or courtesy to others.  We continue to have conversation with our city councilors and staff in hopes of slowing down those who view residential streets as their own expressway.

Our summer started in a grand manner with another great tradition, the Moss   Avenue Sale and Festival, which celebrated its 37th anniversary this past June.  It was a warm, sunny day that saw strong attendance, bringing visitors to our neighborhood to experience our hospitality and lifestyle.  The net proceeds from the sale will be put to use to help fund the Hanging of the Greens and a number of other neighborhood initiatives to help improve the quality of life found in our neighborhood.

In late August, Scott Lewis Construction approached us all with a concept for developing the vacant land at the corner of Moss Ave. and Union St.  His vision, at that time, was to build 8 brownstone townhouses, the first truly new construction in the neighborhood since the rebuild of Westminister Presbyterian Church. Scott and his team continue to work with the city on the development of their plan to best fit the character of our neighborhood.

Thank you to all who make this neighborhood a great place to live.  From our board of directors to the many volunteers who invest their own personal time, we are blessed to have neighbors who care about the neighborhood we all live in.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

Councilman Chuck Grayeb

As the clocks fall back, it is time to look to our future.

The Council must settle the EPA lawsuit and carve out a responsible spending plan to carry our City forward. The budget should fund what YOU want. One of my predecessors spoke often of the primacy of core or basic services. Councilman Sandberg even opined that most folks don’t mind paying taxes if they can see a palpable and meaningful difference in their neighborhoods and lives. I agree wholeheartedly.

As we move forward with the balancing of the budget, we must look to public safety first. Police, Fire, and Public Works absorb most of the money, as you would expect. But building and environmental codes, IT, and all ancillary support positions are vital as well. Our City has shed hundreds of jobs over the past decade. The City is making do with less. But… we dare not jeopardize lives by cutting the basic services any deeper.

Soon the ice and snow will return. Make no mistake about it — those big yellow trucks which fight the elements and rebuild our infrastructure are critical as well.

I have long felt that I was fortunate to be a Peorian and I feel the same now. I have had a great deal of confidence in most budgets we have carved out in my seventeen years on the Council. I will fight hard to reflect your values and work for a budget which has a human face— a budget which does not stop all the progress WE have made together in District Two.

An additional issue of great concern to me is the amount of litigation still unresolved, which existed when the City was  self-insured. A successful wrongful imprisonment claim can make our 7.9 million dollar shortfall look like a picnic in the park.

My other great worry is the action of a malignant player which often cannot be predicted. Our police work hard to preempt criminal conduct but no one knows when the next outrageous act will be committed. This uncertainty extends throughout our troubled world. As your Councilman, I am working with our authorities to identify threats in the neighborhoods and shutter malignant properties before they damage us. Our Neighborhood Service Unit is designed to preempt problems and alert property owners of their responsibilities under our laws.

We will continue to rebuild our West Bluff and our City, and I remain cautiously optimistic that the Brownstone Development on Moss is viable and will be great for all of us. I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving as we enter a beautiful holiday season. See you soon.

 

Annual Holiday Party – 2017

President’s Message

November is here and soon we will embark upon a 6-week venture thorough the holidays of friends, family, parties, and an excessive amount of food.  Food is closely tied to almost everything we do these days.  The fitness industry counts on use over eating during this time.

However, there is a large segment of our population that goes hungry – daily.  Here are some disconcerting figures about Hunger in the Peoria area from the Peoria Area Food bank:

  • 90 percent of individuals served in the Peoria Area Food Bank service area are “food insecure,” meaning they lack regular access to safe and nutritious food
  • 32 percent of the members of households served by Peoria Area Food Bank are children under the age of 18 years old
  • 90 percent of individuals served by Peoria Area Food Bank have a high school diploma or higher education
  • 87 percent of individuals served by Peoria Area Food Bank report purchasing the cheapest food available, even if they know it’s not the healthiest option

Hunger affects people we see daily.  Some are recognizable, most are not.  We once considered those who earned low wages as individuals most likely to suffer from hunger but that has changed over the years and now affects people from all walks of life.

As it relates to children, the Peoria Area Food Bank states:

  • Research shows that children who experience hunger face significant stress and challenges that can have a lasting effect on their physical, cognitive and behavioral development.
  • Hunger affects a child’s ability to learn and perform well at school. Children who experience hunger come to school ill-prepared to learn, are more likely to have trouble focusing in class, and may struggle with complex social interactions and adapt less effectively to environmental stress.
  • Children who rely on free and reduced-price school lunches are at even greater risk of hunger during evenings, weekends, extended school breaks and other times when school is out. For many, the meals they receive in school are the only regular meals they can count on receiving.

We have a number of resources available to us to help curb the problem of hunger, many of which are close to or in our neighborhood.  Here’s a quick list of Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens close to us:  WestMark Food Pantry, Sophia’s Kitchen, Salvation Army, Bread of Life Food Pantry, Southside Mission and many larger institutions including Peoria Area Food Bank, Midwest Food Bank, Heart of Illinois Harvest.

Take a moment, not only this holiday but every day, to consider helping those who are hungry – through donations of food, money or time.  Make a difference in the lives of those who need help.

 

 

Councilman Chuck Grayeb

At recent meetings on the West Bluff, I realized the great change in conversation as various developments are announced and indeed go forward.

On the Bradley University anchor side of the West Bluff, we have a 100 million dollar school project and investment which will forever change us. The new Business/ Engineering Convergence Center is a huge legacy project for one of our top community employers. Bradley’s academic atmosphere adds so much to the West Bluff,  and the students and faculty contribute much to our local community. Town/ Gown Relations have never been better.

At the Hale Memorial Church, much work is occurring under the Yaku Cultural Center banner. This development is potentially transformative and is near our great hospital and medical school anchors.

We are also blessed with a great Renaissance Park Community Association with its members’ great civic engagement on West Main.  Add to this mix a potential Brownstone Townhome Development across the street from the thriving Buddhist Temple, and one begins to see another sign of great and continued prosperity for our neighborhoods.

Millions of dollars have already been spent repairing the West Bluff infrastructure, with even more work coming with the soon to be rebuilt Douglas A. MacArthur Bridge.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we have much to give thanks for, as we continue to work on the preparation of our 2018 and 2019 biennial budget. This will be my 17th budget process as your City Councilman. I am reminded of the late Councilman Gary Sandberg’s admonition:  a community’s budget is oftentimes the embodiment of a community’s values— or at least the values of those sitting around The Horseshoe at that time.

I can assure all of you that, wherever I go, I am hearing that we must continue the rebuild of the heart of our City and dare not reverse course. Property values are rising once again and energy is returning to the heart of our City.  It is the place where our young people and

Creative Class want to live. I will not acquiesce in ruinous cuts which will detract from the resurgence in our neighborhoods. We have fought too long and too hard to turn back. We will cut unnecessary spending and look for a revenue source that will be helpful to all of us. We cannot spend or tax our way out of the current 7.9 million dollar deficit. We must work with scalpel like precision to forge a new biennial budget.

I hope to see all of you soon. Thank you, Councilors Jensen and Ruckriegel, for helping me deliver for District Two— a district second to none!

 

Reminiscences: 1834

William Moss, brother of Lydia Moss Bradley, came to Peoria in the 1830’s. In 1843, William and his father Zeally built and occupied a small brick house at 901 Seventh Street, now Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, that came to be called Peoria Mineral Springs. Three large springs and an underground cavern behind the house soon became a major source of water for Peoria.  About 1858 the City developed other sources and the huge output of the springs flowed into the lowlands, forming Goose Lake. The lake was drained in 1867 for home sites and the spring water then went into the Peoria sewers, as it still does.

In 1847, Lydia and her husband, Tobias, came to Peoria and lived with William until their new home at 802 Moss was finished.

Lydia’s father, Captain Zeally Moss, came to visit them often until he died here in 1849. The old house was marked by the Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation in 1979 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

 

It’s Time to Hang the Holiday Greens – Saturday, November 18th!

The holidays are fast-approaching which means it’s time to Hang the Greens!!  Please mark your calendar for the date and note the details below.  We all look forward to you joining us.

  • Saturday, November 18th, 9:00 AM
  • Meet at Ed & Joanne’s house: 1705 W. Moss Ave.
  • Please bring work gloves, and a sturdy ladder if you have one!
  • Trucks are also needed for delivery of greens and bows.
  • Luncheon for all volunteers served afterward at the Tarbuck/Bannon home.

We’re looking to expand our ‘experienced’ volunteer base with some younger and agile helpers.  Come to meet a few neighbors and decorate our neighborhood for this beautiful season.

 

President’s Message

On Sunday, August 20th, over 50 people gathered for a special meeting of the Moss Bradley Residential Association to hear developer Scott Lewis, outline his plans for the proposed development of the property at Moss Ave. and Union Hill.  Mr. Lewis, his son Christian and his daughter Jordan, presented those in attendance with their vision of building high-end townhomes on the currently-vacant property.  Through site plans and photos, the Lewis team conveyed what they envisioned this residential development could be.

There was plenty of discussion and numerous questions between Mr. Lewis, neighbors and city staff.  Overall the feelings expressed were positive about this proposal and the possibilities it holds for our neighborhood.  There were some reservations stated, and I think that lie in each of our minds, as we reflect back to what transpired with the development of Main Street Commons.

Mr. Lewis and his team still need to appear before the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) for approval of those elements of his development which fall under the HPC.  They will also be back in front of us at our October membership meeting, providing us an update and look at some of the proposed materials and color renderings of the development.

There are a number of items that are noteworthy about this development.

It is the first new significant construction in the neighborhood outside of the building of Westminster Presbyterian Church.  It is being developed on land that in general would be hard to develop.  This is due to the creativity of Mr. Lewis’ team developing a creative site plan and using the natural contours of the property as either building or green space.  As this development fills with residents, the taxes add to the city’s revenue base and the values of the townhomes help increase the comparable values of properties in the neighborhood.

There are a number of “positives” to this proposed development.  I am certain there are some neighbors who look at this with a jaded eye and question certain elements of the proposed plan.

As an organization and as a board, we have conveyed to Mr. Lewis we are willing to work with him to ensure this comes to fruition at the benefit of the neighborhood.  We have also noted to Mr. Lewis, as have Council members Grayeb, Jensen and Ruckriegel, that we will be supportive but very attentive to what is proposed and what actually is planned and constructed.  Knowing the quality of work performed by Scott Lewis Construction, we feel confident this will be the best solution for a problematic location.

I strongly suggest your attendance at the October 4th membership meeting as we follow up on the development of the Union Hill property.  The meeting will be held in the Fellowship Hall at Westminster Presbyterian Church.  Doors open at 6:30 PM with the meeting beginning at 7 PM.

See you there!

 

Councilman Chuck Grayeb

Next year one of the worst bridges in the State will be rebuilt. I want to thank those of you who participated in the three Douglas A. MacArthur Bridge colloquia which the City sponsored. Our new gateway bridge will continue to be iconic and will retain the Art Deco finials and will have sidewalk and bicycle lane.

A potentially exciting new project may be built on the vacant lot across the street from the Buddhist Temple in the 800 block of West Moss. I have insisted that any zoning be R4, single family residential, as this development contemplates townhomes. Scott Lewis is the potential developer. The Historic Preservation Commission must issue a Certificate of Appropriateness, and any new development must be approved by The City Council.

I have asked President Buralli to allow Developer Lewis to become much more specific about this project at the next MBRA Meeting in October. I am thrilled that a historically compatible development may replace an unsightly lot which has been a code enforcement challenge for some time.

Bradley University is continuing to build the new Convergence Center which will house the schools of Engineering and Business. As one of our top employers, Bradley continues to promote our West Bluff and regional economy.

We are continuing to work on our next city budget. We need to produce a balanced budget which does not set our neighborhoods back and which has a human face.

Happy Autumn and I look forward to seeing you soon.

 

City of Peoria Neighborhood Banquet and Awards

On Wednesday, November 1st, the City of Peoria will host the 2017 Neighborhood Banquet at the Peoria Civic Center from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. This annual event celebrates the accomplishments of neighborhood associations and community advocates who have worked diligently with their neighbors, the City of Peoria, and the community at large to improve the quality of life in their communities.

The banquet is a time for neighbors from all across the City to gather and share the things that make us all “Appreciate Peoria”. Please join us for an evening of music, food, and fun to celebrate local leaders who work hard to improve our community.

The Moss Bradley Residential Association will be purchasing up to 4 tables to this event.  If you wish to attend as our guest, please notify us via email  mossbradleynews@gmail.com or by calling 309.369.2037.

 

 

 

President’s Message

What Goes Around, Comes Around.

I was recently reflecting back on a “Thru the Windshield” Marge Klise wrote in 2015 and noted a number of items that have particular relevance today.

In her musings, her first statement, “We have lost many of our beautiful large trees in the last few years,” is appropriate as MBRA continues to promote our tree replacement program which was instituted in 2016.  If you are in need of replacing a tree, you can still take advantage of the program.  Details can be found here.

Marge went on to state, “Have you noticed the presence of new young families? Children out playing? We need your fresh ideas….and your strong bodies.”

Yes, yes and yes! We continue to attract young people, who find the entire Moss Bradley area to be a wonderful place to raise a family and live a rich, full life.  Her final statement in that phrase is key…”we need your fresh ideas.”

As the neighborhood continues to evolve we need to have the input of our newest neighbors and encourage you to actively participate by becoming a member, if you are not one already, having a voice at our membership meetings, and being an active participant with events and activities.

One of her final observations was about the lot at Union Hill and Moss and having it progress into an inviting entrance to our neighborhood.

If you attend the special membership meeting on Sunday, August 20th, you will hear of plans by a residential contractor to develop the property at Union Hill and Moss with historically appropriate townhomes.  More details are certain to follow in the coming weeks and we will work to communicate with all of you as the plans go before the Historic Preservation Commission and the city of Peoria  We will share email information and make it an agenda item at our September Membership meeting on Wednesday, September 6th.

Marge was a wise, insightful person, who obviously was clairvoyant.

What Goes Around, Comes Around.