Log in


Kolter: Paloma Park is wonderful, but there are other priorities


Fellow Peoria residents,

The Peoria council is in the midst of developing the city budget. In addition, I am, like many residents, considering various issues about the upcoming election season. One topic I see a wide variety of comments deal with is the funding of phase two of Paloma Park. Since the information I have seen is so diverse, I decided to investigate this topic for myself so I can be more informed.

In 2008, Peoria voters approved a bond authorization for parks and recreational facilities, trails, and bike routes. In addition to other trails and bike routes, this authorization encompassed, in part, the acquisition and construction of Paloma Park. It is beautiful.

In 2024, the city of Peoria has approximately $5 million remaining from the 2008 park bond, along with additional bond authority from other years which total around $25 million. The estimated cost for Paloma Park phase two far exceeds this budget, leading to a pause in phase two of the park. Peoria does not have the funds at this time to fund the estimated cost of phase two.

Budget decisions are all about priorities. Our mayor and council have made it very clear from the beginning of the current administration that their priorities are public safety, economic development and water infrastructure. Once these areas have “caught up” to where they should be, future funds can be allocated to the Paloma Park expansion. The current budget still has money in it to maintain and repair current parks throughout Peoria, but just not the funds for major expansions at this time. The council is also exploring using impact fees and other developer ideas to creatively finance future park expansions.

As a Peoria resident, I appreciate that Paloma Park is a wonderful asset to our community. I also recognize that we need to prioritize other aspects of our city’s future as the decision makers balance tax revenue with various expenditures. This is responsible, smart leadership. It will produce the type of well balanced growth that we can all enjoy for years to come.