Village ProfileTM

ello, and welcome. It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to my hometown. Pekin, Illinois truly is a place of many possibilities and many accomplishments. As you look though this magazine, you will gain a sense of warmth and diversity that is Midwestern hospitality at it's best.

Pekin was founded in 1824, is the County Seat, and has enjoyed a rich and colorful history. Pekin was home to the late Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen and is the Marigold Capitol of the World. Pekin is known as an outstanding community in which to do business, to raise a family, and to genuinely enjoy life.

Community Leaders point with pride to the growth and expansion that continues in our community. Both residential and commercial construction is evident throughout the city. Pekin is home to one of the largest park districts in the State of Illinois and offers our residents a choice of leisure activity that is unparalled for a town our size.

Our school system has a proven track record of outstanding performance as evidenced in the test results of our grade school students and graduating seniors.

Our quality of life is well above average and the cost of living in Pekin represents the best value in the TriCounty area.

Should the opportunity afford itself, you should not miss the experience of a personal visit to Pekin, Illinois. I am confident that if you visit with us, however briefly, you will soon understand why a growing number of people have chosen to make my hometown their hometown.Pekin: a place of many possibilities. A great placer to live, to work, and raise a family.


R. David Tebben, Mayor

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ekin sits in the heartland of the Middle West, about midway between Chicago and St. Louis. The community is ideally situated, with ready access to all forms of transportation - highway, rail, air, motor freight, and water.

The city is 165 miles southwest of Chicago and 163 miles northeast of St. Louis. Kansas City is 355 miles to the west. Omaha is just 385 miles away. Indianapolis is 215 miles from Pekin and Cincinnati is 325 miles distant. The city is 445 miles from Minneapolis and 415 miles from Detroit.

Pekin is only a few minutes away from the on ramps of Interstates 474 and 155, giving residents fast access to I-74, I-55, and I-39. State routes 9, 29, 98 and U.S. 24 connect the city with Peoria and other nearby communities.

Passenger and freight service if provided by four major airlines that serve the Greater Peoria Regional Airport with 28 departures daily. Most connections are made at Chicago, St. Louis, or Denver. The airport is a free trade zone with U.S. Customs on-site. A local airport offers charter flights and maintenance facilities for privately owned aircraft.

Five railroads serve Pekin area business and industry. They are the Chicago and Northern Illinois Midland, Conrail, Peoria and Pekin Union, Burlington Northern, and the Chicago and Northwestern.

The Illinois River flows by Pekin on its way to confluence with the Mississippi north of St. Louis, Pekin's link to both the Gulf of Mexico and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Central Illinois Dock Company's docks are located less than five miles north of Pekin and the Kingston River Terminal is just five miles to the south. In development are new barge loading and unloading facilities of the Chicago and Illinois Midland Railroad. Six barge lines serve the community, shipping more than 25 million tons annually.

Pekin is served by several intrastate and interstate motor freight carriers. Intercity bus service is provided by the Pekin Municipal Bus Service. Taxicab and limousine services are also available in the community.

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ekin residents demonstrated their support of excellence in education when they built the first school in the fledgling community in 1831. Today, that strong support continues. In 1996, voters approved a $16 million bond initiative that will add 100,000 square feet of space to District 303's modern East Campus high school and allow the closing of the 81-year-old West Campus school.

Public education begins in the schools of District 108. It operates six elementary schools for grades kindergarten through third, two intermediate schools encompassing grades four through six, and two junior high schools for grades seven and eight.

District 108, with more than 4,000 students, is widely recognized for its successes in integrating state-of-the-art technology into its curriculum. Computers are networked to facilitate sharing of information between classes. Telecommunication is used to problem-solve with students in another classroom across the country.

Effective team teaching is one of the district's strengths and each course in the curriculum is evaluated annually to make improvements and assure that state goals are met or exceeded. The district offers both comprehensive special education and gifted programs that meet individual needs. A latchkey program accommodates early and late schedules of working parents. And, each of its primary schools offers full-day kindergarten.

Pekin High School stands in the center of a huge, hilltop campus, providing a rural-like environment. Yet, the school is conveniently near the heart of the community. When the addition to this East Campus school is complete, High School District 303 will have all of its 2,300 enrolled students under one roof.

High school students choose from about 125 different academic courses, plus more than 45 career-oriented courses. A Tech Ed center, on Pekin High's campus is where students wanting a career path can learn a variety of trades and professions and be equipped to enter the job market upon graduation.

Qualified students can take advanced placement courses in English, calculus, Pascal computer programming, and biology and earn college credit while still in high school. They can select from four foreign languages - French, German, Spanish, and Latin - each with eight semesters of study.

The musically inclined can earn credit in band, concert choir, freshman chorus, music history, music theory, orchestra, and sophomore choir. The performing groups give periodic concerts during the school year. Drama classes also give public performances.

The high school fields a complete roster of boys and girls sports teams that play in conference competition. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in a number of special interest clubs and organizations.

Pekin parents have access to several excellent parochial schools as alternatives to public education. These schools offer a well-rounded education program based on a foundation of religion. There are, in addition, preschools and daycare centers for youngsters of working parents.

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Higher Education


op quality higher education is within easy commuting distance for Pekin students. Nearby Peoria, northwest of Pekin, is the home of Bradley University, the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Midstate College, and two nursing colleges. In nearby East Peoria is Illinois Central College. Eureka College, in Eureka, is a short distance east Illinois Central College (ICC) is a two-year community college. It occupies a 400-acre wooded campus only a few miles north of Pekin. Five out of 10 graduating high school seniors in the area who wish to continue their education elect to attend classes at ICC. However, the average age of ICC students is 32.

Illinois Central awards associate degrees in engineering, arts and sciences, education, and applied science. It also offers certificate programs that prepare students for entry into a career. Students who complete the two-year degree programs often transfer to a four-year institution to earn a bachelor's degree.

ICC's H.E.L.P. lab, newest of several academic labs on campus, offers assistance to students who weren't successful in high school and need some brushing up on basics to help them keep up with college work. The lab is also beneficial to students who haven't been in school for a number of years and need help in sharpening learning skills.

Illinois Central tailors specific courses to meet the needs of Pekin business and industry, offering them on-site or on the campus. ICC offers classes at more than 40 locations throughout its district. Selected classes are offered to local residents at the Pekin Mall. The college also serves area business through its Professional Development Institute and the various economic development programs of its Small Business Development/Procurement Center

Peoria's Bradley University, with more than 6,000 students enrolled, is divided into the colleges of business administration, communications and fine arts, education and health services, engineering and technology, and liberal arts and sciences. Bradley's graduate school offers 12 degrees in 24 academic areas.

The university is a boon to Pekin area business and industry because of such services as the Center for Business and Economic Research. Its Center for Executive and Profession Development provides a business incubator and a small business development center.

A 25-acre campus in downtown Peoria is the site of the University of Illinois College of Medicine. It has a total enrollment of about 150 studying either dermatology, family practice, internal medicine, neuroscience, obstetrics and gynecology, pathology, pediatrics, psychiatry, radiology, surgery, or physical medicine and rehabilitation. St. Francis Medical Center and Methodist Medical Center, which are nearby, are primary clinical teaching affiliates of the college.

Unique in the Pekin area is MidState College, for it offers training in aviation and related fields, such as travel/tourism, hotel/motel management, and aviation management, all conducted at MidState's airport campus. A two-year college like ICC, MidState offers career training in various health care, legal, and business professions at its main campus in downtown Peoria.

Former president, Ronald Reagan, attended historic Eureka College. A four-year coeducational institution, Eureka was chartered in 1855. Other institutions in Central Illinois available to Pekin students are Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan at Bloomington-Normal, about 45 miles away and the University of Illinois at Springfield, formerly Sangamon State.

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hopping in Pekin is a pleasurable experience, due in part to convenience, but also to variety. Shopping is convenient, whether it is done in the stores of the downtown business district or in any of the several shopping centers that line Court Street, its primary commercial corridor that leads from the downtown to the east city limits. A wonderful variety of goods and services are found in these hundreds of stores.

Downtown Pekin is a potpourri of retail shops, restaurants, services, and professional offices. Antique buffs enjoy poking around in the numerous boutiques specializing in merchandise with a past.

All along Court Street, as it winds its way east from downtown, is an array of supermarkets, fast food and family dining restaurants, motels, gasoline stations, small convenience centers, major discount merchants, and a do-it-yourself home center. Near the city's eastern boundary is Pekin Mall, a handsome facility that provides indoor, climate-controlled shopping in 55 stores. The Mall is anchored by two major department stores and has three outbuildings. A two-screen cinema is also part of the mall complex.

When shopping for a new car, Pekin and Peoria residents head for Auto Row, at the northern edge of the city on Rt. 29. Just about every make of domestic and foreign car is available in a line of dealerships that has earned the label 'Auto Row.'

Occasionally, Pekin residents want to 'make a day of it' shopping. At times like that, they head for Peoria's big Northwoods Mall, about 10 miles from the city. The mall has three anchoring department stores and more than 100 other shops and boutiques on two levels.

Pekin is home to four banks and four savings and loan associations with combined assets in excess of $400,000,000. These institutions encourage community growth and development and provide a strong financial foundation.

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ekin is part of a large and growing industrial sector that includes metropolitan Peoria, and about six other communities. The largest area employer, by far, is world famous Caterpillar Inc., with some 8,000 employees working in facilities in Peoria, East Peoria, Mapleton, Morton, and Mossville.

More than 30 business and industrial firms call Pekin home. Many of these companies employ less than 100 workers, assuring economic stability for the community.

The largest of Pekin-based businesses is Pekin Insurance Co., with 750 employees. Second in employee size is Pekin Energy Co., producer of ethanol for use in automotive fuel. It employs about 230 workers. Podiatry Arts Lab, maker of prescription devices to correct deformities in feet, has more than 180 employees. Midwest Grain Products of Illinois makes beverage alcohol, gin, bourbon, and corn whiskey with 90 employees.

Other large employers in Pekin include Pekin Hospital, the City of Pekin, Pekin High School District 303, Pekin Grade School District 108, and Tazewell County Government.

The products originating in the Pekin area are wide ranging. They include various concrete products, industrial gases, agricultural chemicals and fertilizers, animal food, seasonings, bronze brushings, hunting accessories, paperboard, aluminum castings, and field seed and hybrid corn.

Pekin has two primary industrial areas, one north, the other south. Riverway Business Park, on the city's south side, is one of the newest business sites in the community and is still in development. In this area, Continental Carbonic Products, Inc. plans to construct a $4 million plant that eventually will employ some 55 workers. Crystal Lake Business Park is also located on the city's south side and is ready for its first corporate resident. It is ideally suited for corporate offices and research facilities because an attractive, 11-acre lake is a dominant feature. Edgewater Industrial Park on the north side is fully developed, but has some space available.

he city aggressively seeks out new business and industry for the community's business/industrial areas and encourages the expansion of existing firms. A large Enterprise Zone covers the southern part of the city and continues north along the Illinois River to encompass an area in the northern part. Two revolving funds provide low interest loans for new and expanding businesses. Tax Increment Financing districts have been created as incentives for improving and redeveloping areas of the downtown business district and the area around Auto Row. An excellent example of downtown redevelopment is the detailed restoration of an old railroad station for use as the corporate offices of a local construction company.

Agriculture, too, plays a significant role in Pekin's economy. Tazewell County has more than 1,200 farms raising corn, wheat, soybeans, and livestock on in excess of 311,000 acres. Total farm receipts are more than $110 million annually.

Excellent worker training programs are valuable incentives attracting new business to the community. Vocational training begins at Pekin High School's Tech Ed Center and is continued at Illinois Central College, a two-year community college located in nearby East Peoria. The college's Professional Development Institute and many of its departments work in harmony with large and small businesses to meet their training and retraining needs. A Self-Employment Training Program at the college assists unemployed people in starting their own businesses. The Small Business Development/Procurement Center, operated by ICC, offers numerous seminars, counseling in marketing strategies and management, and assistance in obtaining capital, loans, and financial development. The United Prionte Industry Council is located at 200 South Second St., 353-4475.

Business travelers can stay at any of five motels in Pekin, three well-known national chains. In total the Pekin area has more than a dozen fine motels. Many more are found in Peoria.

Pekin is the ideal location for business and industry. It's why so many companies call Pekin home.

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