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Divided council halts ‘cure violence’ assessment, fees dropped to help downtown street vendors

A legislative proposal is being considered to address community violence.
A legislative proposal is being considered to address community violence.(MGN)
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 11:51 PM CDT
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Peoria City Council members agree street violence is one of the community’s most pressing issues, they were deadlocked Tuesday night on a plan to address the violence.

After a heated and lengthy discussion, the council voted 5-5 on a proposal to spend $25,000 from the Federal American Rescue Plan to pay non-profit Cure Violence Global to conduct a “Cure Violence Assessment.”

The tie vote means the study won’t be done even though it had Peoria Police backing.

“My issue is, I don’t know what this is. It’s not in the agenda packet,” said at-large Council member Zachary Oyler who opposed the study.

“And so, if there is a desire to pass something tonight, it should be in the damn agenda, and I am so frustrated with these types of maneuvers where we don’t get the information that we need up front,” Oyler exclaimed.

District 4 Council member Andre Allen made an impassioned plea for the measure.

“We don’t have the time to defer this for two weeks. People are dying, literally,” Allen said.

“I know I’m normally laid back but this is...I’m just really confused about what’s going on. I know everybody’s intentions are good but Peoria is known for just having meeting after meeting after meeting. It’s time to start getting to action,” Allen added.

Allen, Elizabeth Jensen, Denise Jackson, Timothy Riggenbach, and Mayor Rita Ali all voted yes. Oyler, Chuck Grayeb, John Kelly, Sid Ruckriegel, and Kiran Velpula voted no. Dennis Cyr was absent.

Council waives fees for street vendors

Council members were more unified on the idea of cutting fees to zero for street vendors or push cart operators the rest of this year. They adopted the measure that also allows vendors to set up along Hamilton and Adams in Downtown Peoria.

Vendors are getting a break because they faced pandemic-related restrictions, and backers believe more visitors might come downtown with the prospect of more food carts there.

Councilman Oyler was the only no vote, indicating the fee waiver isn’t fair to competing “brick and mortar” restaurants.

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