Old Man River

Old Man River, at least the Illinois River, has delivered one long wet kiss to the Peoria riverfront the past month. It has been an extremely wet summer for the state of Illinois. Our friends in California would probably be glad to trade places. Having lived through flood clean-up at our home in the past and many sleepless nights wondering if the flood waters would breach the sandbags two years ago, and then again this summer, I am ready for a break from the rain and rising water, as are most people in our neck of the woods.

The rain, rising waters, heat, and humidity has not squelched the Central Illinois spirit, nor the Peoria riverfront activities, though. The businesses are in full swing thanks to the efforts and many hours of hard work by our city workers. As a small business owner, I cannot tell you how comforting it has been to have felt the city’s protective arms helping to keep the flood waters at bay. The sandbags and temporary seawall have held and the pumps have kept the water from reaching the riverfront businesses. Quick action by the city, Peoria Park District, Riverfront Association, along with probably many others I am unaware of, have allowed the continuation of Peoria’s busy festival season.

The Riverfront Farmers’ Market has smoothly transitioned to new locations. Friday Happy Art sessions have continued to happen at The Hive. Running Central races have gone off without a hitch. Steamboat Days was in full swing, with its many activities. And, the many riverfront restaurants have been busy as people have ventured down, in many cases, to see how high the waters have risen.

So, who knows, maybe the river’s kiss has been a bit of a blessing in disguise. With that being said, and looking a the forecast for the next few days, here’s to hoping the sun gives us a sweet peck on the cheek soon.

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