Peoria Heights, Illinois
Tower Park water tower, 1970
|Area||6.97 sq mi (18 km2)|
|- land||2.65 sq mi (7 km2)|
|- water||4.32 sq mi (11 km2)|
|Density||2,509.0 / sq mi (969 / km2)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Wikimedia Commons: Peoria Heights, Illinois|
Peoria Heights is a village lying almost entirely in Peoria County in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 6,635 at the 2000 census. Peoria Heights is a suburb of Peoria and is surrounded by the city except for its eastern boundary on Peoria Lake, a relatively wider section of the Illinois River. It is part of the Peoria, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.
According to the 2010 census, the village has a total area of 6.97 square miles (18.1 km2), of which 2.65 square miles (6.9 km2) (or 38.02%) is land and 4.32 square miles (11.2 km2) (or 61.98%) is water. That most of the village is water is due to the fact that most of Upper Peoria Lake lies within its boundaries; this can be seen on official state maps.
Topographically, the village can be roughly divided into three zones. The Illinois River floodplain, the bluff, and the plateau. While its eastern border is fairly regular with the river's edge, the rest of its municipal border, with Peoria, is quite irregular and convoluted.
According to the Census Bureau records through 2007, Peoria Heights lies in three counties (Peoria, Woodford, and Tazewell). While neither Tazewell nor Woodford counties consider Peoria Heights to be within their jurisdiction, the state of Illinois does show that across Peoria Lake from the rest of the village, a small, uninhabited area exists both within Peoria Heights and Woodford County. However, the Census Bureau claim that Peoria Heights is also within Tazewell County is unsupported by any state, county, or municipal websites.
The village is perhaps most noteworthy for its Grand View Drive, a residential street on top of the bluff overlooking the Illinois River with many elegant homes and a country club. The road also has several panoramic look-outs of the river and beyond into Tazewell and Woodford counties as well as a park with a children's playground, picnic area, and baseball diamond. Teddy Roosevelt purportedly called the street the "World's Most Beautiful Drive" when he visited the Peoria area in October 1910; WMBD, a local radio and TV station, gets its call letters from Roosevelt's expression.
The town is also recognized by its distinct, red water tower. One can ascend the tower in an elevator and survey a sizable portion of Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties. The tower forms the nucleus of Peoria Heights Tower Park. Tower Park is a centerpiece of the community which underwent sweeping and controversial renovations in 2002, costing the Village nearly $800,000.00. The nearby downtown business area includes upscale restaurants and shops. In addition to this water tower there is another modern tower on Toledo Avenue colored a distinctive Red, White, and Blue (the school district colors).
On and below the bluff, there are several parks and recreational areas. Forest Park Nature Center is a nature reserve on the bluff containing several miles of trails of varying difficulty and the village's only native prairie restoration site. The Pimiteoui Trail links up Forest Park Nature Center's visitor center with Grandview Drive. Bielfeldt Park is a more traditional park with sports fields, a paved trail, children's playground, and picnic area. The southern terminus of Grandview also sports a park with swings, slide, and pavilion.
The Duryea Motor Wagon Company once had a production facility nearby (the reason for the aforementioned visit by Teddy Roosevelt). The town was also the site of a brewery for Pabst Blue Ribbon. The closing of the Pabst brewery in 1982 had a severe impact on the local economy and population, from which the community has never completely recovered. The Peoria City mass transit company, CityLink, offers a History Trolley, which starts its tour in the Prospect Commercial Sector.
The Peoria Heights Public Library is located off Glen and is not far from Grandview Drive or Downtown Peoria Heights.
Government and politics
The Village of Peoria Heights is a home rule municipality governed by a Village Board of Trustees form of government. The mayor and the village clerk are each elected at large to a four-year term. The Mayor appoints the Village Treasurer. The Mayor is the Chief Executive Officer of the Village and presides over meetings of the Village Board. With the approval of the Village Board, the Mayor appoints non-elected Village officials. The Village Clerk is the recording officer of the Village, and is responsible for attending all meetings of the Village Board and keeping records of the proceedings. Village Board meetings are the first and third Tuesday of each month.
The Village Board is the legislative body for the village, and consists of six trustees elected for a four-year term. Their terms are staggered, so that half are elected every two years. Members may be elected for an indefinite number of terms. The Village Board formulates policy and enacts local laws, usually in the form of resolutions and ordinances. The Village Board is directly responsible to the citizens of Peoria Heights.
Peoria Heights has a history of non-national political parties. The "Village Party" and the "People's Party" were once prominent in local elections. Today the "Village Party" is defunct and the "People's Party" has lost in the last four elections to Independent candidates.
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The village has its own school district, District 325. The district nickname is "The Patriots". Peoria Heights Grade School and High School are located next to one another on Glen Avenue. Peoria Heights High School was built in the 1970s and is notable for its circular design. Most of the first floor classrooms are arrayed on the outside like spokes on a wheel, much like Maine West High School, in Des Plaines, Illinois. When first designed the classes were entirely open to the majority of the building, visible even from the upstairs offices, nicknamed "the crow's nest". They were later partitioned, first by dividers then by dry wall, constructed by the shop classes. Peoria Heights Grade School was built in the late 1990s and consolidated the Village's earlier two grade schools, Kelly Avenue Grade School and Monroe Grade School. It is recognizable for its large bicycle-shaped clock which used to be affixed to the front of Kelly Avenue School.
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Elementary School is another prominent school found in the village.
Peoria Heights has stand alone EMS, Fire and Police Services. The fire dept. is a volunteer on call service, while the Police and EMS are both paid careers.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,635 people, 3,122 households, and 1,657 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,509.0 people per square mile (970.4/km²). There were 3,331 housing units at an average density of 1,259.6 per square mile (487.2/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 92.89% White, 3.45% African American, 0.32% Native American, 1.07% Asian, 1.06% from other races, and 1.22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.90% of the population.
There were 3,122 households out of which 22.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.5% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.9% were non-families. 39.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.82.
In the village the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $32,161, and the median income for a family was $42,545. Males had a median income of $33,408 versus $22,000 for females. The per capita income for the village was $20,999. About 6.7% of families and 8.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.3% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.
- "Subcounty population estimates: Illinois 2000–2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-04-04. Peoria Heights population total (line 925): 6252 people; Richwoods Township, Peoria County, Illinois (line 5788): 6153 people; Fondulac Township, Tazewell County (line 6577): 0 people; Spring Bay Township, Woodford County (line 7280): 99 people.
- "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- Bartels, DeWayne (2011-03-23). "Locating the area that is 'East Peoria Heights'". East Peoria Times-Courier (Peoria, Illinois: GateHouse Media). Retrieved 2011-03-25.
- Peoria Heights map
- The Village of Peoria Heights. Map
- Communities. Woodford-county.org. Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
- Tazewell County Home Page. Tazewell.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
- Baietto, Michael E. (25 August 1995). National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Grand View Drive. National Park Service. pp. 25–26. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- Peoria Heights Chamber of Commerce About Us. Peoriaheightschamber.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
- Peoria Heights Chamber of Commerce Community. Peoriaheightschamber.com (1969-03-17). Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
- Peoria Heights Chamber of Commerce Duryea Auto History. Peoriaheightschamber.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
- Village of Peoria Heights. Village of Peoria Heights. Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.