Peoria — Pekin will receive a $2 million grant for repairs to Court Street through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Fast-Track Public Infrastructure program, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Thursday.

“Anyone who lives in Pekin can tell you how important this project is for the community,” Koehler said. “Not only will Court Street, a main thoroughfare in Pekin, be revitalized, but we’re also bringing jobs into the community.”

The Fast-Track program was created by the state to provide emergency assistance for businesses and communities facing economic hardship during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Currently, DCEO has launched more than $300 million in emergency relief programs, with most of the funding available for businesses. 

Koehler fought to fund this project, among several others, while negotiating the landmark Rebuild Illinois infrastructure program and was able to secure $20 million in total for the City of Pekin for future projects.

“Thanks to a collaboration with local leaders, Pekin will reap the benefits of a $20 million investment in local road repairs and improvements to other vital infrastructure,” Koehler said. “I look forward to seeing the progress of these projects over the next several years.”

The Fast-Track program is funded through the Rebuild Illinois infrastructure plan. Eligible applicants were required to prove projects were located in an undeserved area, promoted economic development for minority-owned businesses and could start construction within 90 days after being awarded.

To see other Fast-Track award recipients, click here.

Category: Press Releases


PEORIA – The Peoria Public Library and the Pekin Public Library are the recipients of a mentoring grant from the Illinois secretary of state’s office, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Tuesday.

The grant was awarded through the Project Next Generation program, which is a mentoring program administered through Illinois public libraries. Mentors work with middle and high school students to help them develop skills needed to use technology and find success through project-based learning. Mentors also help with developing life skills, such as effective communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.

These libraries are two of 28 public libraries in the state to receive the grant. The grant money will be allocated as follows:

  • Pekin Public Library: $26,917
  • Peoria Public Library: $12,500

“I’m thrilled to see that Secretary White is demonstrating a commitment to the wellbeing of public libraries in our state,” Koehler said. “Well funded libraries are an invaluable resource for our communities. This grant will help provide students in Peoria and Pekin with the tools they need to be successful in the future.”

In all, the secretary of state awarded $559,358.00 in Project Next Generation grants statewide. The money is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Grants are awarded to public libraries that serve low-income and underserved populations.

Category: Press Releases

C. T. Vivian receives 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom

PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler issued the following statement Friday after news of the death of Peoria civil rights icon C.T. Vivian:

“Rev. C.T. Vivian was a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement and gave pride to all Peorians because of his Peoria roots. I met him years ago when he spoke in Peoria and came away in awe of his dedication and insight on where we need to be headed as a nation. I thank God for the life of this dedicated man. We need to continue his memory to help inspire future generations.”

C.T. Vivian was a civil rights activist whom Martin Luther King Jr. once described as “the greatest preacher to ever live.” Vivian’s career began in Peoria, where he was hired to work for the Carver Community Center. While at Carver Community Center, Vivian participated in his first civil rights sit-in, where he successfully integrated Barton’s Cafeteria.

Category: Press Releases


PEORIA – To provide residents with an opportunity to improve vital life skills, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced local organizations will receive more than $200,000 in grants from the secretary of state’s office to help adult learners develop reading, mathematics, writing, and English-language skills.

“Providing adult residents with more learning opportunities can only benefit our community. Everyone deserves the opportunity to better themselves, regardless of their age,” Koehler said. “I also encourage all who are able and willing to help their neighbors improve these vital life skills to volunteer.”

More than 13,500 students will be served by adult literacy programs throughout Illinois. Supported by $5.6 million in state funds, the programs will depend on nearly 6,000 volunteer tutors to provide skills training for students, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Adult literacy projects are focused on improving reading, writing and math and are targeted at Illinois adults who read below the 9th-grade level or speak English at a beginning level.

Local organizations receiving these grants include:
- Spoon River College, $54,000
- YWCA Pekin, $65,000
- Neighborhood House, $51,488
- Peoria County Regional Office of Education, $60,597

Those interested in volunteering should contact the Illinois Adult Learning Hotline at 800-321-9511.

Category: Press Releases

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