Illinois cities plan outdoor recreation, tourism coalition near Peoria

Illinois cities plan outdoor recreation, tourism coalition near Peoria


A line of 20 canvas "glamping" tents overlooks a mile-long stream brimming with trout at the Sankoty Lakes Resort and Retreat in Spring Bay. The new 220-acre resort is a work in progress but is open for business. The 30- by 25-foot tents accommodate up to five "glampers," while larger cabins can serve seven guests.
  • Years-long process could help bring more tourists to town, with more revenue from them to aid cities
  • Reinvention of Ottawa and other cities near Starved Rock helps serve as a model
  • Outdoor recreation is an $800 billion industry across the nation

PEORIA HEIGHTS — Mike Phelan sees a lot of green around Peoria Heights. It might attract a different variety of green, as he sees it.

The potential for increased tourism — and the associated businesses and tax revenue it can bring — prompted Phelan, who is Heights village president, to help spearhead a loose grouping of five communities that line the Illinois River to the north.

Dubbed the Riverview Coalition, the group is making its first major event the Bridge-to-Bridge River Drive Festival. Peoria Heights, Chillicothe, Lacon and Spring Bay are participants. Henry is a member of the coalition but is not participating in the festival.

Scheduled for Sept. 18-19, the festival includes concerts, markets and other events along both sides of the river on a 52-mile loop between the McClugage Bridge in Peoria and the Illinois Route 17 bridge at Lacon.  

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