About the County
Known as the Heart of Illinois, Peoria County is at the center of a multi-county region along the Illinois River. It has a population of 181,830 (census 2020). Peoria County encompasses 629 square miles, running 32 miles north/south and 28 miles east/west.
The Greater Peoria region has a diverse and vibrant business base and is home to a variety of firms that focus on innovation, research, and development. While agriculture and the manufacturing giants of Caterpillar and Komatsu still have a firm presence, the region’s industries over the last 10 years have noticeably expanded and grown to encompass healthcare, education, banking, biotech, and craft distilling, among others.
The thriving economic base is anchored by our booming medical community. OSF HealthCare and UnityPoint Health are both major employers in the region. Specialty care centers and providers abound. The University of Illinois College of Medicine and Jump Simulation Center are both located in Peoria as well as multiple colleges of nursing.
The river continues to be a great economic driver in the County. It carries in excess of 39 million tons of freight each year. It recently became part of the federally recognized Heart of Illinois Regional Port District, which aims to bring more investment into the area.
The river bluffs slowly transition into prairie-like terrain that supports rich farm ground and agricultural operations in the central and western portions of the County. Roughly 250,000 acres are devoted primarily to corn, soybeans, cattle, hogs, and vegetables. We are also home to the USDA's National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research Lab, blending our roots in agriculture with our innovative future.
Many organizations, including Peoria Innovation Alliance, Distillery Labs, and Startup Greater Peoria, are investing in innovation and entrepreneurship in our region to continue to grow diversification efforts. Firms such as Natural Fiber Welding, which blends high fashion with plant-based manufacturing, and Bump Boxes, which curate and ships pregnancy-friendly products nationwide, are choosing Peoria County as their home.
Entertainment and Recreation
Peoria County boasts an impressive array of entertainment and culture amenities that are typically found in larger metropolitan cities. The vibrant arts scene ranges from a symphony orchestra and ballet company to local workshops and galleries. The Peoria Riverfront Museum continually features world-renown traveling exhibits as well as permanent displays from famed local artists. Large and small concert and theatre venues, such as the Peoria Civic Center, Three Sisters Park, and Betty Jayne Brimmer Center for the Performing Arts, are active and flourishing. Cultural festivals filled with food and music are summer mainstays throughout the County.
The city of Peoria, which is the County’s population and commercial center, has sports that any metropolitan area of similar size would envy, including a minor league baseball team affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, NCAA Division One athletics at Bradley University, and the Rivermen hockey team. Youth athletics are plentiful, from recreational play to travel and competitive leagues both within and outside of the local school districts. Peoria is also home to the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex, which hosts many regional and national youth sporting events and tournaments.
The County's landscape lends itself to a plethora of outdoor activities. Abundant public and private golf courses, substantial regional trail systems, fishing and hunting opportunities, a lively running scene, and mountain biking can all be found in the County. Roughly 25,000 acres in the county is woodland.
The local Illinois Valley Yacht Club and Detweiller Marina allow boating enthusiasts easy access to the water. Man-made lakes and the Illinois River make up more than 9000 acres of surface water.
Family-friendly adventures thrive at the Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum, Peoria Zoo, Wildlife Prairie Park, rock climbing at First Ascent, and more. Plus, the award-winning Peoria Park District stewards more than 9000 acres of land and recreational centers throughout Peoria County.
The average sale price in the region is a reasonable $114,000. Whether you're looking for a home with a view, urban walkability, a short commute to work or school, or forested seclusion, you'll be able to find what you're looking for.
The County encompasses 18 public school districts, with higher-than-average national graduation rates. In addition, many private schools are located in the County, both secular and with religious affiliations. Those homeschooling their children will also find active support networks in our region.
The region is also characterized as one with small-town friendliness and charm. Multiple communities are nestled along the majestic Illinois River, which flows along the entire eastern border of the County. These tight-knit communities are great places to put down roots, and charming small shops and restaurants encourage regional day trips for County residents and visitors alike.
Combine all these features with a low cost of living, affordable housing, and hardly any traffic, Peoria County is an ideal place to call home.
Peoria County Government
Peoria County is governed by countywide elected officials and an 18-member Board elected by districts to staggered four-year terms. The Board conducts the bulk of its business through eight (8) standing committees. It has a professional administrator manage the day-to-day operations of the organization, including supervision of many County departments. Since 1993, the current County Administrator has spent his entire professional career serving in various capacities within the County; he was appointed County Administrator in 2015.
The County has approximately 630 full-time employees and an annual operating budget of $118 million. While the Peoria County Board oversees the entirety of the budget, elected officials oversee many departments and a significant portion of the staff. The Sheriff, State's Attorney, Treasurer, Circuit Clerk, Auditor, County Clerk, Regional Office of Education Superintendent, and Coroner are all elected positions. There are also departments that report to independent boards, including the Veterans Assistance Commission, Peoria City/County Health Department, and Peoria County Election Commission.
The administrative arm of the 10th Judicial Circuit is located in the Courthouse, as well as multiple courtrooms. Many Peoria County government departments work closely with the court system and support them, though most judicial staff members are employees of the State of Illinois. The 10th Judicial Circuit encompasses Peoria, Tazewell, Marshall, Putnam, and Stark Counties.
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- Peoria Heights
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Want to know more about our region? For more information about the Peoria area, please visit the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau's Discover Peoria website: https://www.peoria.org/.
The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council promotes development in our five-county region and has a host of resources on its website: https://greaterpeoriaedc.org/.