President’s Message

I live in a great neighborhood!

I grew up in a great neighborhood.  In fact, just about every neighborhood I have lived in has been a great neighborhood.

Now, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t issues were I lived.  In my younger years, I lived in one of the south side neighborhoods of Chicago, Marquette Park.  We lived in a 1950’s row house of modest means, surrounded by families of all ethnicities.  There was a sense of purpose with these hard-working lower-to-middle class families.  Everyone looked out and cared for one another.

Our next move was out to the southwest suburbs just before the housing market exploded. The people moving into these new subdivisions were many of the same people we had been surrounded by in the city and brought with them their work ethic and sense of “being a good neighbor.”

Other moves took me back into the city of Chicago with my final moves to central Illinois, via Bloomington, and ultimately to Peoria which has been my home for over 30 years.

Though not every community I have lived in has been “prosperous,” and some having its share of “issues,”  every neighborhood has had an identity, an awareness of who it is and has been defined by the people that live there – their values and sense of community.  Walking down the street, it was not uncommon to smile and say “Hi” to neighbors and visitors alike.  People found sitting on their porches or standing at a fence and conversing for long periods of time was the norm.  And we always didn’t agree or get along. But when the time came to come together, we did, and with strength.

The majority of my time in Peoria has been spent in older neighborhoods – first on Glen Oak Ave. across from the John C. Flanagan House Museum, and in the Cottage District/Moss Bradley since 1989.

in a great neighborhood.  Is it perfect?  Nope.

But I can walk down the street and know this is home.  People will watch out for me as I will for them.  I look forward to our evening walks as it is one of the ways we socialize.  It excites me to see people walking their dogs, riding their bikes or simply strolling down one of our neighborhood streets.

I live in a great neighborhood!

Councilman Chuck Grayeb

I hope you all had a wonderful summer! Fall is around the corner and school has reconvened.

The Convergence Center Reconstruction continues on the Hilltop, and the Brownstones on Moss project is about to commence . The new MacArthur Bridge should be done by Thanksgiving, and we installed more traffic calming on Sheridan between Moss and Main. Traffic dragnets are in play and will continue to nab inconsiderate motorists.

The ornamental lights are being repainted on Moss from Sheridan down to Western.

The upscale 25 million dollar Muse Housing Development has been approved by the City Council. It will serve the UofICOMP and BU student clientele with 330 more people residing, studying, and spending disposable income in our neighborhoods and great City, come August of 2020.
The historic Larkin Building at Main and Sheridan is undergoing a facelift. The experimental Bloomberg grant parkelet— a people oasis— outside Las Delicias was a great success and look for more of them.

We have applied for 25 million dollars of federal money to do a complete rebuild of West Main from Laura Bradley Park to Water Street. Features will include a bike path and wider sidewalks and more exciting al fresco dining opportunities for our restaurants.

We will continue to wrestle with money issues, largely induced by years of mismanagement at the State level. I believe that the pension burden on our municipalities will be fixed by the next State of Illinois Administration and General Assembly after the November Election.

I feel our best days are ahead, and I want to thank the At- Large Council people who take a great interest in supporting our neighborhood, in a district second to none!

See you soon.



Music Opportunity for Neighborhood Children

For the past four summers, Westminster Church on Moss Avenue has sponsored a Music Camp for children in grades 2 through 6, this year adding grades 7 and 8.  We had more than 50 campers each day representing every corner of the city.  It was a great week culminating in a dinner and concert on Friday evening.

With this in mind, it only seems logical that there might be children from our camp, and from here in the neighborhood who might enjoy an ongoing choir experience. Thus, we are seeking children in grades 2 through 6 who might be interested in a weekly choir experience here at Westminster.  The proposed group would meet on Wednesdays after school … beginning at 4:30 p.m. with choir practice for about an hour, and followed by a simple pizza supper provided by the church.  Children need only be interested in singing and come ready to work and have a fun time.

This choir would then prepare music to be sung at a Westminster Sunday morning worship at ten o’clock.  The choir would be scheduled to sing once every five or six weeks.  Being willing to sing in church from time to time is the child’s way to remunerate the church for the music education and supper.

As the new school year is about to begin, and parents seek wholesome activities for their children, this is a perfect way to fill a Wednesday afternoon.  For children in Moss-Bradley, the walk is short being right in the neighborhood.  If you wish, you can bring your child by car, of course.  Westminster Church observes safe sanctuary policies … there are always at least two adults in the room with children at all times.

Director of this endeavor will be Thomas Clark-Jones, Westminster’s Organist-Choirmaster.  Mr. Clark-Jones, who has degrees from Wilkes University, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and from the State College of New Jersey has worked with children’s choirs for over fifty years both in church and secular settings.  He is the founding director of the award winning ‘Cantate: The Children’s Choir of Central Virginia’, founded in 1993 and still going strong as a major piece of the cultural scene in the Central Virginia area.

So, if you’re looking for a learning experience your children will enjoy and come home singing new tunes … here is a good opportunity.  The choir will be a ‘go’ when registrations reach 10 to 12 singers.  Please call the church office at 673-8501 to register your children.  Any questions, feel free to e-mail or call Tom Clark-Jones at 717.503.8929 or  Westminster seeks to serve this community and beyond … if we can give children the gift of music … that will be a great service to enrich our community.

Parklet a hit on West Main

By Andy Kravetz, Journal Star public safety reporter

Reprinted from Journal Star

PEORIA — It’s about the size of a public parking space, but residents and city officials hope the new “parklet’ will spark a new interest in the West Main corridor.

Parklets, said Anthony Corso, the city’s chief innovation officer, are found in cities across the nation. In short, it’s seen as a way to reclaim a portion of the sidewalk, street or parking area and convert it into something that can be enjoyed by all. He said it’s “tactical urbanism.”

“It’s really to add amenities to areas like this one that has fairly narrow sidewalks but have neighborhoods, residents and businesses that would benefit from more pedestrian traffic,” he said, standing near the new parklet that was outside of Las Delicias Mexican Ice Cream Parlor in the 800 block of West Main Street.

The structure, which is portable and can be removed during the cold weather months, features benches and tables. There were planters that offered some vegetation in an area where few plants, save trees and weeds, grow. And from the looks of the people who were enjoying their ice cream, the parklet was a hit.

One woman noted the parking space sized structure almost doubled the number of seats that customers for the ice cream parlor use.

For months, Corso said, the city Innovation Team or I-Team met with area residents, neighborhood groups and businesses to get their feedback on some ideas to revitalize the area. The parklet was seen as an inexpensive method to link the areas north of Sheridan Road to the areas closer to the Bradley University campus, he said.

The I-team plans on reporting on the parklet to the City Council. If deemed a success, guidelines could be created for businesses and residents to create and fund their own parklets. This one, which cost about $5,000 to $10,000, was funded largely by the city, Corso said.