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Rethinking Wisconsin Ave Image

The commercial corridor along Wisconsin Avenue is centrally located within the East Bluff Neighborhood and runs from north to south through the neighborhood. The Corridor has provided retail and commercial services to the residents of Peoria, and more specifically, the East Bluff since early in the 20th Century. The 1930 City Directory lists a confectionery, a bakery, a grocer, a drug store, a tea room, shoe repair, two restaurants, and two barbers, within this business area. The area remained a viable retail district through the 1980’s, with a healthy turnover in business operations and types.

The Kroger Plaza Shopping Center, located on Wisconsin Avenue, just south of McClure Avenue was constructed in the early 1960’s in the model of a suburban strip mall. It remains in the same configuration today, with the Kroger grocery store remaining the anchor, with a dollar store and community health clinic located within the shopping center. This section of Wisconsin Avenue was a stopping point for the trolley and bus lines that ran throughout Peoria in the first half of the 20th Century. The trolley line ran on Wisconsin until turning East on Frye toward Prospect Avenue. The bus line, at the same time, intersected Wisconsin Avenue at Republic (one block north of Frye) and continued north to a turn-around at McClure Avenue. The block of Wisconsin Avenue between Frye and Republic (the heart of the commercial area) would have at the time been a major connection point between the trolley and bus service. The current bus service continues to run throughout the length of the Business Corridor.

The viability of the older commercial district has come into question over the past decade, as several outlets closed and were not replaced. However, in the past few years, this commercial area has become an attractive location for a growing Hispanic population in Peoria and as such, new retail and restaurant establishments have opened in previously closed store fronts. In addition, Peoria School District 150 replaced the old Glen Oak School with a new $28 million school at the intersection of Wisconsin and Frye in 2010.

Corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Kansas in 1942

Street car on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Kansas in 1942

Scotts Service Station Wisconsin Avenue and Frye Avenue

Scotts Service Station Wisconsin Avenue and Frye Avenue

Corner of Kansas and Wisconsin

Corner of Kansas and Wisconsin

Corner of Kansas and Wisconsin Avenue

Corner of Kansas and Wisconsin Avenue

Wisconsin Avenue

Wisconsin Avenue


On December 10, 2013 the Peoria City Council approved the hiring of Farnsworth Group of Peoria, Illinois to assist in the development of the Wisconsin Avenue Business Corridor Plan.  The purpose of the plan is to set a vision for the Corridor and provide specific recommendations related to:

  1. Simple architectural recommendations (façade improvements, redevelopment opportunities).
  2. Site improvements within the public right-of-way (paving, landscaping, site amenities)
  3. Potential ‘branding’ opportunities to distinguish this corridor.
  4. Site improvements outside of the public right-of-way.
  5. An implementation strategy with short and long term action items.

The Plan was approved on September 23, 2014 and implementation is currently underway!  To view the Plan as a PDF Final-Poster-Rev-5-09152014_1411479464.pdf click here.

Wisconsin Avenue Business Corridor Plan





















Available Properties


Two New Murals Celebrate the Residents and Businesses of Peoria’s East Bluff – March 18, 2015

East Bluff Art Project Aims to Show Faces of the Community – January 2, 2015

Wisconsin Avenue upgrades Approved by City Council – September 24, 2014

Peoria City Council to Vote on Wisconsin Avenue Plan – September 23, 2014

Plan to Improve Wisconsin Avenue – September 23, 2014

Peoria Draws Up Vision for East Bluff Business Corridor – September 22, 2014

A Corridor on Peoria’s East Bluff is Targeted for Improvements – April 29, 2014

Peoria Officials Take a New Look at East Bluff Business Corridor – March 7, 2014

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