EastSide Centre teams with Robert Morris College to provide facility

Scott Hilyard GateHouse Media Illinois

EastSide Centre has teamed with Peoria’s Robert Morris College to provide facilities for the school’s expanding athletics programs.

It’s a good fit, EastSide director Doug McCarty told the City Council July 29. “With this agreement, we have the opportunity to make more revenue which would allow us to host even more events.”

EastSide would be the home practice and game facility for the college’s new women’s and men’s basketball teams and provide the home fields for the new baseball and softball teams.

McCarty said teaming with the college allows EastSide to schedule practices for college athletes earlier in the day than high school athletes, because of different school schedules. Early afternoon practices, a time when EastSide is mostly empty, fills up a slow part of the day.

Robert Morris is hoping its athletics expansion will help grow the college from the 250 to 300 range to 400 to 500 students. The college is considering adding lacrosse and soccer, and it also has put in a bid to host a national softball and baseball tournaments as early as 2016.

The school competes in the small-school United States Collegiate Athletic Association.

Expanding the athletics program “is an opportunity to enhance the college experience for our students,” athletics director Justin Meriss told the council July 29.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a 10 percent portion of a $400,000 project to expand Riverfront Park onto a small peninsula in the Illinois River. The city is applying for an Illinois Department of Natural Resources grant that would supply 90 percent of the project’s cost.

The new park, near Bass Pro Shops, would have walking trails and wildlife observation stations, among other features. It likely will be months before the city knows if it has been awarded the grant.

• Approved an agreement to continue to provide emergency dispatching services to the city of Creve Coeur. The cost to Creve Coeur is $62,817, a 2.5 percent increase reflective of the 2.5 wage in the Telecommunicator’s current collective bargaining agreement.

• Awarded the residential demolition contract to Advance Demolition, the lowest responsible bidder.

• Approved a zone change on Farmdale Road to allow the construction of a retail and office space complex and a storage facility.

• Awarded the contract to repave a section of the EastSide Centre parking lot to Tazewell County Asphalt for $251,651.