The President’s Message

Baseball, Neighborhoods and Opinions

I love baseball…..played a lot, coached some and have always been a fan. The rules of the game at first glance appear simple, but the complications surface when special situations occur. For instance in last years World Series Game three an apparent double play at home plate by Boston became the winning run scored by a St Louis base runner on an obstruction call on the Boston third baseman. The ruling is seldom seen, but the rules are clear and fair. The call was correct by the umpires. The rules were interpreted correctly and the integrity of the game was maintained.

Transfer this to our neighborhood. Part of Moss-Bradley is a “Historic District”, and has special rules to abide by. All residents, organizations and businesses must abide by these rules. The rules must prevail to protect the integrity of the Historic District no matter what the need, situation or organization…..Just my opinion!

A special shout out THANK YOU TO A.M.T. and especially Bethany Hirst for the special service of helping get the hard copy newsletter printed and mailed each month. Thank you Bethany and A.M.T.

I thank you for the opportunity to serve as President for the past year and look forward to volunteering with you at the following events:

1.     May 3 – Neighborhood Dumpster Day-8am-Noon. 1627 W. Barker
2.     May 7 – MBRA Potluck
3.     May 17 – River City Marathon
4.     June 7- Moss Avenue Sale

Jim Evenhuis – President
Moss-Bradley Residential Association

MBRA Annual Meeting and Dinner Next Week

The month of May is packed with countless special events…Mother’s Day, graduations, Memorial Day picnics, music recitals, year-end school activities, and, of course, the MBRA Annual Meeting and Dinner!! Please be sure to mark your calendars and join us for this special neighborhood tradition. We are sure to be delighted with this year’s entertainment featuring a snapshot of the “The Penguin Project”!

MBRA Annual Meeting & Dinner
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Westminster Church Fellowship Hall

Please bring a side dish or dessert to serve approximately eight people and your own plates and utensils. Meat and beverages will be provided.

Entertainment featuring: “The Penguin Project” 6:30 p.m.

MBRA Membership Dues

Annual dues are $12 per year and are due by May 1st.

Please send your payment and the form below to:

Moss-Bradley Residential Association
c/o Brian Buralli, Treasurer
818 W. St. James St., Peoria, IL 61606

MBRA Membership Form

Moss Avenue Sale and Festival

Just a reminder that the 34th annual Moss Avenue Sale & Festival will be held on Saturday, June 7th from 8 am to 3 pm.

This event brings many visitors to our neighborhood and we want to make sure we are looking our best.

Let’s make sure our yards are tidy and litter in the streets and alleys is picked up!

If you would like to volunteer to help out with the sale or to donate the use of your yard, please call Jan Krouse at 676.7900.

Western Avenue Greenway Community Garden

Submitted by Martha Willi

Most of us are aware of the idea of making garden spots in the midst of the city, and the movement to grow fresh food locally.

There is a garden plot in the Western Avenue Greenway, which has been in use several years as a communal plot to raise food for local food banks. This year we will be offering plots for individual use. The plot size is 10 feet by 12 feet, large enough to grow fresh produce for the summer. The plots will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. Depending on the number of people applying there may be more than one plot available per family.

The garden is located in the Greenway segment between Laura and Bradley. The garden area is accessible from the alley and parking space is available.

If you are interested, please call Martha at 674.4500 for more information.

Message from Councilman Chuck Grayeb


Work continues on Redux of West Bluff infrastructure to create a more aesthetic and walkable home for all of us. Our streets will be transformed to be safer and more pedestrian friendly. After completion on May 10, we can assess and determine if we have any adjustments to make.

Almost three million dollars is being spent to positively transfigure our neighborhoods!  The plan is cutting edge, progressive and solidly done. The transparent approach allowed you, an engaged citizenry, to make it even better.

Our Giant Oak still stands strong in spite of the impact of age and recent high winds. I have asked the Park District to retain the wood as it could be cut into attractive memorabilia pieces. We have lost an apartment building on Roanoke Street to a catastrophic fire. We are fortunate there were no casualties. The other sister structure is deemed unsafe for human occupancy based on the inspection process. It will be going into demolition court. Our challenge is twofold: find an investor to make it safe for occupancy and a credit to our historic neighborhood. We continue to have showings of Washington School and I am optimistic. I will soon call a meeting of the West Main Business Redevelopment Association and acquaint them with the pros and cons of establishing a Special Service District. Already, the businesspeople all along West Main have been meeting with me about some of their exciting plans. We are indeed entering another springtime of hope, for a better future united as One.

It is my high privilege to represent and serve you.



Submitted by: Earl Power Murphy

My name is Earl Power Murphy, I am a twenty-six year old Moss-Bradley resident. I’ve been a Peorian for almost twenty years and I greatly enjoy it here. So much so I was able to convince a young Parisian artist that living in Peoria is better than Paris. She moved here and we married. Together we are doers; she is an artist with work around the world I am a teacher at Woodruff Career and Technical Center with a Masters coming in May and sights set on a PhD. Here in this neighborhood we discovered a way to share our abilities and passions with the community.

We live on High Street, and every day, like countless others, we drive by the Hale Memorial church. This is a special place. One day, almost three years ago, we bought the church. Since that day we’ve been building an organization, one that is capable of restoring the church and bringing new life to the space and the community.

The organization is titled Yaku. Yaku means water. Yaku formed for two purposes: one, to organize, fund, and guide the restoration of the Hale Memorial Church, and two, to facilitate the reintroduction of life into the building. Since the beginning, we have been sharing the story of Yaku, the church, and Peoria to artists and creative minded people around the world. We introduce them to the possibility of sharing their work in the church, participating in a growing community, and learning from a strong Midwestern culture. With these stories and introductions, over forty artists from around the world, hailing from countries such as France, Peru, England, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand, have committed to Yaku. They want to share their work with Peoria and they want to learn how we live.

Some have already visited as tourists, and are excited to return as participants, while many others patiently wait their turn. With this international community of artists we will curate and host grand artistic festivals within the church, those that create a welcoming experience to all members of the Peoria community. In between festivals, the church will be offered to the community as a facility for a broad spectrum of community events, for example: neighborhood meetings, small conventions, theater and dance companies, lectures, wedding, graduation parties, and musical performances, just to name a few.

Yaku is organized by two distinct entities, the Advisory Board and the Makers. The Advisory Board is made of distinguished members of the Peoria community. The members represent various communities in the area, such as the Historical Society, MBRA, and the business community. Their role is to guide us along ensuring that our work effectively realizes our mission and positively benefits a broad spectrum of local constituents.  The Makers, as their titles implies, are for bringing to life the work of Yaku. That means, organizing the events, caring for logistics, and connecting with the community; they are the ground floor, the grassroots of Yaku.

Recently our efforts have taken a new form. We are going public. Our thoughts, theories, and plans are finally ready to share. We have small publications distributed at businesses around Peoria, a website that is coming to life, active on social media, introductory events planned, and the first steps of restoration beginning in May. In April, we released a five-volume set of “Story Cards”, they share small bites of our story, at local businesses such as Broken Tree, Thirty-Thirty, and Panaderia Ortiz. Our website,, is live and growing every day.

We have two public events planned in May, all events will be held at The Larkin, located at 600 W. Main St., the former Church Mouse:

Introduction and Q&A – Saturday, May 10th
Introduction to the Founders, our mission, and members of the Makers

Arts and Artists – Saturday, May 24th
Introduction to a selection of artists, their works, and glimpse of how we envision the festivals.

Last, but certainly not least, the restoration project Floors and Doors; this project is our first push to bring the building back to life. It was born from the necessity to meet basic needs of the structure as well as the personal desire to introduce the building and share its potential. The scope and goals of the project are simple: prepare safe, secure, and accessible entrances; repair the areas of the floor weakened or destroyed by the elements; remove the excess debris from the building; and seal the envelope, i.e. patching roof leaks, closing holes in gutters, and protecting the stained glass windows.

The Floors and Doors project will be funded by an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign running May 1st – May 29th. The restoration work is to being in early June, contractors and volunteers are ready to go.


Thru the Windshield…How do we look to those passing by?

Submitted by: Marjorie Klise

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”  – Aristotle

This is a quote that we should all post up on our bulletin board. So often the first tendency is to respond “no way”, “won’t work”, “too hard” before we even “entertain the thought”.  I would imagine that many great ideas are lost just because they are quashed before they get that chance of a second look.. And conversely, what a joy it must be to be in the room when an impossible plan takes life.

Who said, “No way. We can’t form a small group to raise enough money and then buy and resell houses in order to attract new neighbors and save our unique building stock?” Voila…the Moss Bradley Revolving Fund!

Who said, “Wont work. …people won’t sell engraved bricks to raise money to fix up an unsightly triangle of ground at a focal point of the neighborhood. Who will lay the bricks and water the plantings? And we don’t think that the neighbors will continue this work for years to come”? Voila…Tricorn Park!

Who said, “Crazy!  How could we possibly buy/acquire almost all the houses, plus an abandoned gas station on the east side of Western Avenue, landscape the area and provide a beautiful buffer between traffic and homes”? Voila…our Western Avenue Greenway!

There are so many impossible deeds that become reality just because someone, some time, some where ‘entertains a thought’ instead of immediately crying uncle. Where is the next crazy plan? What is our next impossible task? It can be done and we have the history to prove it.

Get to Know Your Neighbor – John & Marcy Marter

Submitted by Brian Buralli


Street you live on:
Douglas St.

Eight children all grown. Now we have cats.

Where were you born:
John – Lafayette, IN; Marcy – Peoria, IL

Who was the most influential person to you:
John – Grandparents; Marcy – Parents

What type of music are you listening to now:
John – Oldies Pop; Marcy – Progressive

What was your first job:
John – Lifeguarding; Marcy – Cashier at the Voyager Inn on Hamilton

What accomplishment are you most proud of:
John – Restoring this house; Marcy – Creating a successful business

What is special about where you live:
The age of our house, built circa 1860s. We both love this house and everyone thinks it is a Victorian dream. We are so close to many exciting places like Studios on Sheridan and Habitat for Humanity. We love our life here in Peoria.


Broken Tree Coffee

Broken Tree Coffee

Submitted by Carrie Schmillen

The corner of Main and Sheridan was home to Running Central for over 30 years before Broken Tree Coffee opened in the summer of 2012 as a retail outlet for the local coffee roaster. The shop offered freshly brewed coffee and tea, espresso drinks and coffee beans for the first year of operation.

Broken Tree had brown paper covered windows for a few weeks this winter while they built out a new kitchen to house their stacked pair of vintage 1970’s stone deck pizza ovens. They have since re-opened and are serving made from scratch New York style pies, staying open later and offering a selection of beer, wine and mixed drinks. More food options are in the works with plans to add soups, salads, sandwiches, breakfast items and desserts. Everything on the menu is made from scratch, and some items will feature seasonal local produce.

The owners of Broken Tree Coffee live in the Cottage District neighborhood just a couple of blocks from the shop. They have three young children: two girls age four and six, and a one-year-old boy. Jeremiah and Carrie Schmillen lived in the neighborhood for over ten years before starting the Main Street business and are happy to be taking part in the rejuvenation of the area.    

The Renaissance Park Community Association

Renaissance Park

Submitted by Jessica McGhee

The Renaissance Park Community Association is a hybrid association, consisting of business owners, property owners and residents of West Main Street in Peoria, Illinois, from University to North Street. The Renaissance Park Community Association conducts neighborhood clean-ups on the first Sunday of each month, (starting at 4:00 pm and meeting at Blue – 619 West Main Street) sponsors and organizes the community garden by Sheridan/Main, and actively works to better West Main Street, to bring more business and traffic to the area and to help create a walkable and safe community.

Membership is open to anyone over the age of 18. Membership dues are $12 per year, plus a commitment of 12 service hours per year towards association projects. Their first clean-up of the year was held on April 6th and brought together more than 30 volunteers. A second clean-up took place on April 12th, working with both Bradley SERVE and the University East Neighborhood Association, to cover 7 blocks of West Main Street, and surrounding blocks, from University to Sheridan. Councilman Chuck Grayeb was in attendance. The association is expecting to begin shooting a promotional video for West Main Street Businesses. Their website can be found at:

Renaissance Park-2

Renaissance Park-1

Westminster Presbyterian Church Updates

The beautiful area behind the Parish House of Westminster Presbyterian Church (1420 W. Moss Ave) has seen a face lift. Jordan Case completed his Eagle Scout badge with a landscape project in that area. Now that spring is here, please come and see it and give us ideas of how we might enjoy the area together as a community. For feedback you can email me at Please mark it Parish House in your email.

Coming Soon! Blast Off! VBS this July! You’ll have a Blast.

The Latest from St. Mark’s School

St. Mark’s School is now enrolling new students in Pre-K through 8th grade. We have full day and half day Pre-K programs for three and four-year olds, and provide before care and after care. We offer a challenging, comprehensive curriculum that recognizes the unique talents of each child! Come see for yourself all the wonderful opportunities St. Mark’s School has to offer your children!

Character Counts at St. Mark’s School
St. Mark’s contributes to the development of the entire child by offering an array of extracurricular activities that build teamwork, confidence, leadership skills and perseverance.

One example is First Lego League. A robotics program for 9-16 year olds, FLL is designed to get children excited about technology! This year our FLL team competed in the State Tournament and took home first place in project! Contact the school office to learn more about all the opportunities St. Mark’s School has to offer your children · 676.7131 Like us on facebook! Follow us on twitter smspeoria!

St. Mark's Character Counts

Craft & Vendor Sale at Franciscan Rec Complex

Stop by Peoria Park District’s Franciscan Recreation Complex (FRC) on Saturday, May 17 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and shop the Craft & Vendor Sale. The sale will feature businesses in the arts, crafts, and home-based fields, all displayed on the front lawn of FRC.

More information, including vendor registration forms, can be found at or by calling FRC at 309.677.6705.

The Central Illinois Jazz Society

The Central Illinois Jazz Society

Sunday, May 18, 2014
CIJS House Band at 6:00 p.m.

Guest Group: Carl Anderson and His New Orleans Jazz Band at 7:15 p.m.

The Starting Gate Banquet Room
Landmark Recreation Center
3225 N. Dries Lane, Peoria

$5.00 Members | $7.00 Non-Members
Students are free

Carl Anderson and His New Orleans Jazz Band is a regular favorite for the Central Illinois area. Carl is joined by six other seasoned, traditional jazz musicians to bring back this truly original jazz style to our area. His group has performed all over the area, including appearances at the Decatur Jazz Festival / Juvae Jazz, Jimmy’s Bar and Grill, Tin Pan Alley Restaurant, Bernardi’s North, the Central Illinois Jazz Society and private parties. For more specifics, you can log onto their website at for their complete schedule and details. The group recently released their third CD, “Second Line”, which will be available at the program. Carl is also a founding member of the Central Illinois Jazz Orchestra, a big band that performs throughout the area.

Carl selected the very best players he could find for his traditional jazz group. The band members currently include musicians from Illinois and Iowa. The group includes Carl on trombone, Doug Myers on trumpet, Craig Bullis on clarinet, Denny Schielein on piano and vocals, Jeremy Clark on drums, Jason Shea on string bass and tuba, and Lance Dieckow on banjo.