Spirit of Peoria may be drifting away

Spirit of Peoria may be drifting away

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PEORIA, Ill (HOI) -- -

Troubling times may be ahead for the Spirit of Peoria because of a project the city is leading.

The reason why is parking.

"They keep saying that they're going to add 46 spaces but that's going to be down near the river station and they're going to add a few handicap spots here in our turnaround," said Captain and Owner Alex Grieves, Spirit of Peoria Riverboat.

Grieves estimates there needs to be between 75 to 100 parking spaces for customers.

But in a few months parking options will be dwindling.

The boat can hold a little less than 400 people and around 200 are on each cruise.

That brings in about 30,000 people every year.

Grieves adds, "I feel like we're being squeezed out. We've had parking over the years. We've put up with lots of development down here which has hindered our parking. This could be our greatest hurdle yet."

So, what happens next?

Grieves says he's been looking at other choices.

"I've talked with some city officials in East Peoria so there's some options over there so we can stay local. We've also been working with the city of Grafton, Illinois."

Bridget Daly brought her two nieces here to see the boat.

She says it would be a shame for the girls to lose out on the experience of the Spirit of Peoria if the boat has to relocate.

"That would be kind of sad. We actually walked down here to see if because I don't think they've ever seen the boat before. So I was explaining how the paddle boat is different than other types of boats and they were interested to look at it."

Grieves says he wants to stay right where he is.

"I mean I'm all for green space. We love it. They have some good ideas drawn in now but we have to find out if we can have some parking in here."

Despite the parking concerns, the boat is actually seeing *more customers, which is the reason cruises are now being offered Wednesdays through Sundays, adding in an afternoon ride on Thursdays.

Demolition on Riverfront Village starts this fall.

We reached out to Assistant City Manager Chris Setti who told HOI News that they're still waiting to collect data on where customers park and the city is working to keep Grieves on the riverfront.

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