Peoria Heights, Illinois

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Peoria Heights is a village in Peoria County in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 6,635 at the 2000 census. Peoria Heights is a suburb of Peoria and is surrounded by the city except for its eastern boundary on the Peoria Lake, a relatively wider section of the Illinois River. It is part of the Peoria, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Peoria Heights is located at 40°44′42″N 89°34′31″W / 40.745°N 89.57528°W / 40.745; -89.57528 (40.744987, -89.575244).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 6.9 square miles (17.9 km²), of which, 2.6 square miles (6.8 km²) of it is land and 4.3 square miles (11.1 km²) of it (61.79%) is water. Topographically, the village can be roughly divided into three zones. The Illinois river floodplain (below the bluff), the bluff, and the plateau (atop the bluff). While its eastern border is relatively fixed with the river's edge the rest of its municipal border, with Peoria, is notoriously irregular and convoluted.

The village is perhaps most noteworthy for its Grand View Drive, a residential street on top of the bluff overlooking the Illinois River with many elegant homes and a Country Club. The road also has several panoramic look-outs of the river and beyond into Tazwell and Woodford counties as well as a park with a children's playground, picnic area, and baseball diamond. Teddy Roosevelt purportedly called the street the "World's Most Beautiful Drive" when he visited the Peoria area in 1910 and this is where WMBD, a local radio and TV station, gets its call letters.

The town is also recognized by its distinct, red water tower sporting a sculpture of a Red-Headed Woodpecker. One can ascend the tower in an elevator and survey a sizable portion of Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford county. The tower forms the nucleus of Peoria Heights Tower Park, a centerpiece of the community which underwent sweeping and controversial renovations in 2002 costing the Village nearly $800,000.00. The nearby downtown business area includes upscale restaurants and shops. In addition to this water tower there is another modern tower on Toledo Avenue colored a distinctive Red, White, and Blue (the school district colors).

On and below the bluff, there are several parks and recreational areas. Forest Park Nature Center is a nature reserve on the bluff containing several miles of trails of varying difficulty and the village's only native prairie restoration site. The Pimiteoui Trail links up Forest Park Nature Center's visitor center with Grandview Drive. Beildfelt Park is a more traditional park with sports fields, a paved trail, children's playground, and picnic area. The southern terminus of Grandview also sports a park with swings, slide, and pavilion.

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