PEORIA,IL--Peoria residents will find out tonight if the city is serious or just giving lip service to improving the social and economic plight of blacks in the city. It's an offshoot of that survey that ranked peoria as the worst place for blacks to live.
"Will it play in Peoria" is a popular marketing term used in the river city. Now after a national survey ranking Peoria as the worst Midwest city for blacks...it's treatment of African Americans is being questioned.
"We have to come together to work together and try to figure out some ways and solutions to include African Americans to make this a better place so they can take care of themselves, create businesses and things of that nature," said Peoria Park District Board Member Robert Johnson.
The 24-7 Wallstreet study cites the black jobless rate in the metro area at 15 percent, three times the white unemployment rate. One resident who works construction says there are inequities when it comes to job opportunities.
"As I drive in Peoria everyday I see all kinds of construction work going on here. I haven't worked in Peoria myself in seven years and I'm in a skilled trade. Given the opportunity for some of us to work right here in our own backyard would be a beautiful thing," said Construction Worker Kouri Mack.
Disparities in education and housing have also plagued the city for decades. Southtown residents have been complaining for years about bad streets, sidewalks and aging infrastructure. Peoria recently spent 30 million dollars in federal transportation money revamping streets and sidewalks in the Warehouse district and recently made improvements on University and along Forest Hill.