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Old 02-16-2009, 11:16 AM
 
4,455 posts, read 1,969,912 times
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Default Planning a move to Peoria...

I plan on moving to Peoria next Spring, probably around May 1st. I am originally from Illinois, born in Chicago and raised in B/N. Still have a few friends back in B/N and a sister/brother-n-law. I currently live North of Seattle, WA and plan on moving back to Central Illinois just for better opportunities and quality of life.



My question is this, what drives Peoria’s economy outside of Bradley, St. Francis, and of course CAT? I realize the economy is slow everywhere so I am hoping that things will begin to show an uptick next spring. If for some odd reason things turned around by this Fall I would be ready to make my move then but that is being truly optimistic.

I have also read on another thread that someone said that Peoria was Liberal. According to my sister Peoria elected a Conservative Mayor?



Go CUBS...
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
10,741 posts, read 14,233,232 times
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If you are familiar with central Illinois, you know Peoria reinvents itself as circumstances change. Right now CAT has a hiring freeze and management bonuses are being downsized.

City politics are not the same as national. If Peoria has a conservitive city council, you'd never know it by its progressive nature. It changes as the wind blows. What Peoria does have is a very diverse culture, and very diverse religious community that is more like Chicago and less like some of the other Central Illinois cities. Liberals and Conservatives meet in Peoria and seem to live peacefully next to each other.

You'll be surprised at what the city did to the river front.

The people and small business drive Peoria economy. With the three hospitals, medical school, and the Peoria Park District a lot of people are employed. I do not know that CAT is still the largest employer in Peoria. They are outsourcing and building elsewhere. Many of the restaurants that you were familiar with are still here. Jumer's Castle Lodge is still here, but it sold out to Mariott. Pere Marquette is undergoing a huge facelift. It will be the premier package when finished. Jim's Steak House is still downtown and thriving after 40 years. Peoria Heights kinda reinvented itself after Pablst left. Sully's is up there now and it sitll a very nice place to live. The few businesses that were in West Peoria have changed hands too. We have a second mall called Grand Shoppes that was built west of Peoria off 150 that is very upscale. And old money still thrives in Peoria. Broms bought Cook's furs and they are still going storng. You can still buy a nice, modrately priced house in Rolling Acres. Trefzger's is still going strong, too.

Peoria is still hiring professionals. IT technology is still solid. The economy is bad all over Illinois, but I think most of us are hopeful for an upturn in the economy. When is a craps shoot. It you have a marketable skill, you should be able to find a job.

If you want to move in the spring, it might be good to submit resume now - just in case it takes longer than you might think.
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:47 PM
 
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linicx Thank you for your reponse. I plan on making my move the Spring of 2010 and plan on moving without a job lined up. I will have my own funds to live off of an help me settle in and of course hopefully be gainfully employed. These plans are yet a year away but it certainly doesn't hurt on planning ahead. I am wondering how intense the networking is for CAT? How much support they get from different manufactures/warehouses etc to support their production in Peoria or Peoria County?

Dave
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Old 02-16-2009, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
10,741 posts, read 14,233,232 times
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Please understand we've been retired for many years. CAT parts in Morton ships worldwide. As for intake, Cat has to buy steel, tractor seats and everything else they do not directly manufacture - from paper and envelopes used in the office to shop rags and toilet paper. How much networking support is durectly from Peoria County these days is an area in which I have no expertise except to the extent of what is known about the relationship between CAT, hopitals and CEFCU and some regional organizations. The City of Peoria and Catherpillar are jointly funding a CAT museum downtown, or at least they were unntil the economy soured.

Until global outsourcing looked better than its neighbors, CAT used a lot of small jobbers in the area. CAT hasn't poured iron in years in Tazewell County Then all the local gray iron foundries bid CAT work.. - I don't know how much CAT actually does manufacture in the area today.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Peoria, IL
148 posts, read 392,432 times
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Default Peoria Economy

Hi Dukester -

I'm guessing this thread is related to your Washington, IL thread...

You hit the nail on the head with the largest drivers of the local economy

- CAT: It feels like 50% of Peoria works for CAT (either directly or indirectly)
- The Hospitals: St. Francis, Methodist, Proctor
- The Colleges: Bradly, ICC

Additionally

- Banks: There's a few banks/credit unions here with decent sized operations - CEFCU, South Side Bank, Commerce Bank, Associated Bank, etc.
- Government: The prime example of this is the federally funded AG Lab on University St (this is where it was first discovered how to mass produce penicillian). Also, city government and all the local schools.
- Ag business: Biggest example is ADM's distillery
- Transport: Rail, River and to a lesser extent Air.
- Other Manufacturing: e.g. Keystone Steel, Maui Jim's sunglasses
- Retail
- As anywhere, there's a plethora of service industry work

Peoria is still mostly a manufacturing town, although that part of the economy keeps diminishing and there are a fair number of white collar jobs here. The city is trying to transform itself into a Med Tech/R&D/Regional Transportation hub, but that really hasn't materialized yet.

Basically, if you want to relocate to this area you'll probably have better luck in B-N if you're looking for decent paying white collar work. Blue collar jobs are more abundant in Peoria (although right now, the job prospects in either place are not that great). There's, of course, equal opportunity for service jobs in either place.
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Old 04-16-2009, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Peoria, IL
148 posts, read 392,432 times
Reputation: 42
Default Peoria Liberal

As far as Peoria being Liberal. Peoria is somewhat liberal. I'd call it blue-collar liberal (meaning economically liberal, morally conservative). The mayor, Jim Ardis, is a republican but I wouldn't call him a die hard. He's more of a soft or moderate conservative, leaning somewhat to the right.

Compared to Seattle though, you will probably find any city in Central Illinois to be pretty conservative (outside of the big university environments in B-N and Champaign).

I'm curious, why do you want to leave Seattle? What are the opportunity and quality of life problems there?

Last edited by Scio42; 04-16-2009 at 12:29 PM.. Reason: misspelling
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:45 PM
 
4,455 posts, read 1,969,912 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scio42 View Post
As far as Peoria being Liberal. Peoria is somewhat liberal. I'd call it blue-collar liberal (meaning economically liberal, morally conservative). The mayor, Jim Ardis, is a republican but I wouldn't call him a die hard. He's more of a soft or moderate conservative, leaning somewhat to the right.

Compared to Seattle though, you will probably find any city in Central Illinois to be pretty conservative (outside of the big university environments in B-N and Champaign).

I'm curious, why do you want to leave Seattle? What are the opportunity and quality of life problems there?
In short, WA State is very expensive. The cost a living is way up there with our price of gasoline heavily taxed by the State. I think we are no. 2 or 3 in terms of costly transportation... It is beautiful out here without a doubt but those mountains don't pay the bills. I am originally from B/N. I have a sister and father who still lives back there with another sister who lives in Kewanee. I flew back to B/N this last summer to see my father and visit with my siblings. Out here Boeing (like Cat) drives the economy along with Microsoft and with the current market conditions both companies are struggling. I do not plan to move for another 12 months so I am hoping things begin to open up as far as jobs go back there...

Thanks for your reply...
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
10,741 posts, read 14,233,232 times
Reputation: 5288
Not everyone who lives in Peoria has a blue collar. Not everyone who lives in Peoria is white collar, or conservative, or liberal, for that matter. Residents can be as much of, or as little of, any political/religious position. It is not a clannish religious community.

The face of Peoria manufacturing is changing from giants like Keystone Steel and Wire to the smaller single owner like the microbrewey. CEFCU - originally a CAT wholly owned entity is most likely the largest public federal cedit union in the Peoria MSA with offices n many locations including Lincoln, and ATM's in most popular shppping areas. CEFCU is still making home loans. The Mariott hotel chain expanded into Peoria with its purchase of Jumer's Castle Lodge. Jim's Steakhouse on Main relocated to the renovated Janssen Law building. CCC relcated to the Twin Towers. Neither the country clubs nor the IVY club have closed their doors yet. This is a good economic indicator for Peoria.

The downtown area changed from consumer shopping to a legal/financial hub. Water street has slowly changed with the creation of the Riverfront Plaza; new businesses gradually opened there. However the economy and recent flooding caused a small exodus whilst the new businesses on Washington Street remain open and uneffected. Will the airport be a regional hub? Two weeks ago there were several daily flights to CA and LV. This week Sen. Dick Durbin put in a bid for high speed rail to Peoria as Amtrack left years ago. My son had three businesess in Peoria and was doing well when he was killed.

The Illinois River is still a major shipping channel and Peoria is still a destination as is Havana. Peoria stockyard and steel yards are operational. As far as I know the CAT proving grounds and Mapleton - both in Peoria County - are still operational.

It is true the Peoria economy has slowed in some areas but it is far cry from being pronounced dead. In my opinon what we are seeing is fat being trimmed from a bloated giant.that was allowed to run amok for too many years. Part time employees put on leave, shifts downsized, restaurant and store staff downized. It is not just one sector that is most affected, it is accross all sectors in Peoria area.

If you live long enough in one area you recognize change for what it is and you do not panic for you know a new future has begun. Peoria has been reinventing itself as needed for 140 years. It is nothing new. I've lived thrugh four of these hard times and survived. Spring is here and planting has begun. I suspect by the time you arrive the economy will be on the upturn.

Last edited by linicx; 04-17-2009 at 11:43 AM.. Reason: edit
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Old 04-17-2009, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Peoria, IL
148 posts, read 392,432 times
Reputation: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dukester View Post
In short, WA State is very expensive. The cost a living is way up there with our price of gasoline heavily taxed by the State. I think we are no. 2 or 3 in terms of costly transportation... It is beautiful out here without a doubt but those mountains don't pay the bills. I am originally from B/N. I have a sister and father who still lives back there with another sister who lives in Kewanee. I flew back to B/N this last summer to see my father and visit with my siblings. Out here Boeing (like Cat) drives the economy along with Microsoft and with the current market conditions both companies are struggling. I do not plan to move for another 12 months so I am hoping things begin to open up as far as jobs go back there...

Thanks for your reply...
Thanks for your take on WA State Dukester. I've always liked the Pacific Northwest myself too, absolutely beautiful. I tried to move out there a few times, but never landed a job offer that was good enough to make the move worthwhile.

Anyway, if you're looking for low cost of living, you'll certainly like that about Central Illinois, it's pretty inexpensive to live here (especially compared to the West Coast).

Also, about the job market here. There are decent paying jobs to be had right now in the Peoria & B-N area, hiring is just really slow. A number of local companies are still hiring, just not nearly as much as even a year ago. More of the open professional positions right now seem to be temporary-contract types than usual. If you're planning to move out here, if you start looking sooner rather than later before you move, you'll probably have decent luck finding work.
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Old 04-17-2009, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Peoria, IL
148 posts, read 392,432 times
Reputation: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post
Not everyone who lives in Peoria has a blue collar. Not everyone who lives in Peoria is white collar, or conservative, or liberal, for that matter. Residents can be as much of, or as little of, any political/religious position. It is not a clannish religious community.

The face of Peoria manufacturing is changing from giants like Keystone Steel and Wire to the smaller single owner like the microbrewey. CEFCU - originally a CAT wholly owned entity is most likely the largest public federal cedit union in the Peoria MSA with offices n many locations including Lincoln, and ATM's in most popular shppping areas. CEFCU is still making home loans. The Mariott hotel chain expanded into Peoria with its purchase of Jumer's Castle Lodge. Jim's Steakhouse on Main relocated to the renovated Janssen Law building. CCC relcated to the Twin Towers. Neither the country clubs nor the IVY club have closed their doors yet. This is a good economic indicator for Peoria.

The downtown area changed from consumer shopping to a legal/financial hub. Water street has slowly changed with the creation of the Riverfront Plaza; new businesses gradually opened there. However the economy and recent flooding caused a small exodus whilst the new businesses on Washington Street remain open and uneffected. Will the airport be a regional hub? Two weeks ago there were several daily flights to CA and LV. This week Sen. Dick Durbin put in a bid for high speed rail to Peoria as Amtrack left years ago. My son had three businesess in Peoria and was doing well when he was killed.

The Illinois River is still a major shipping channel and Peoria is still a destination as is Havana. Peoria stockyard and steel yards are operational. As far as I know the CAT proving grounds and Mapleton - both in Peoria County - are still operational.

It is true the Peoria economy has slowed in some areas but it is far cry from being pronounced dead. In my opinon what we are seeing is fat being trimmed from a bloated giant.that was allowed to run amok for too many years. Part time employees put on leave, shifts downsized, restaurant and store staff downized. It is not just one sector that is most affected, it is accross all sectors in Peoria area.

If you live long enough in one area you recognize change for what it is and you do not panic for you know a new future has begun. Peoria has been reinventing itself as needed for 140 years. It is nothing new. I've lived thrugh four of these hard times and survived. Spring is here and planting has begun. I suspect by the time you arrive the economy will be on the upturn.
Hi linicx,

I've come across a number of your posts in the Illinois forum. From your writing, it's easy to see you have a very positive take on Central Illinois. That's a good thing, we can always use a few more "the glass is half full" individuals around here.
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