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Ideas, data, and Information gathering toward a more thriving downtown

The city of Peoria is seeking solutions that can help us better understand the needs, gaps, and opportunities in our transition to a more lively downtown.

Goals & Objectives

To be successful, a solution might:

  • Support a survey or community-engagement process of business-owner and resident sentiments around the downtown and potential visions for it.

  • Provide mapping, data, and/or vision on the potential of upgrading existing commercial rental stock downtown. This can include information on zoning, proximity to transportation or other features, etc.

  • Provide mapping, data, and/or vision on the potential existing stock of available rentals for business owners, including size, location, and other features.

  • Identify gaps, blockages, or needs where solutions could facilitate a more active, thriving downtown.

  • Identify vacant or underutilized properties for potential city or private-developer purchase and development

  • Develop a financial model for a creation of a business park to support expansion

  • Provide insight on how best to Increase the perception and reality of safety downtown

  • Contribute to a growth plan that facilitates development for new construction

  • Provide information on how to create linkages between the existing civic center/entertainment area with the rest of downtown

Release of Challenge: March 20, 2023

Responses Due: April 18, 2023

Questions Due: April 11, 2023

Determination of Selected Startups: May 2023

Expected Work to Begin: June 2023

NOTE: The government reserves the right to modify the dates listed at its sole discretion.

City of Peoria, IL

This three-time All-American City has the heart that is so well known in the Midwest. Just like in the old vaudevillian days, quality of life must be good to “Play in Peoria”. The oldest community in Illinois with a population of 112,936, Peoria is equal distance from Chicago and St. Louis. Naturally, we are proud to be the site of the founding U.S. headquarters for Caterpillar, Inc., but we have many global businesses that allow Peoria to play all over the world through their products and services. Peoria has begun to diversify its economy with infotech industries as well. Thus our business community attracts some of the brightest graduates throughout the nation. Here we have an enviable standard of living, exciting venues within a 15-20 minute drive from our homes, safe streets, quality and quantity shopping, our own symphony, our own ballet company, museums, art guilds, first-class medical facilities, the nation's oldest community theater and oldest Santa Claus parade.

Challenge Background

The city of Peoria has a long legacy of innovation and support of entrepreneurial spirit that welcomes businesses’ growth and expansion. However, with the success of being a community where businesses want to locate, we lack adequate inventory matched to the square footage and other requirements for modern business relocation and expansion, which can have a detrimental impact on the future ability to retain existing businesses looking to expand or new businesses looking to relocate.

Discussions with tech startups have highlighted a major issue: the lack of appropriate property in convenient locations for expansion. Current methods of locating available sites have been ad-hoc, resulting in the inability to identify properties that are suitable for expansion. The City of Peoria is developing a strategic plan to provide businesses with the tools to locate suitable properties successfully. The approach involves inventorying multiple locations within a 50-square-mile radius. The City is motivated to help startups remain in Peoria and scale their business activities locally. We are committed to collaborating with planners, developers, elected officials, and others to classify properties that best meet your startup's expansion needs. Insights obtained from this challenge, along with planning and development support provided by the GPEDC, will play a significant role in shaping the strategic planning process of the City of Peoria.

Key Stakeholders

  • City and County Elected Officials

  • School Districts and other taxing bodies

  • Economic Development Council and other business oriented associations and groups

  • Existing Business

  • City Staff including (community development, planning and zoning, and engineering)

  • Illinois American Water company

  • Ameren

  • College/University Workforce Development

  • Lending industries

  • Real Estate Associations

  • Advisory Boards to the City Council

  • Residents


Proposers who have questions should send these to at any time until [one (1) week prior] to the due date for proposals. All responses to questions will be posted on the Challenge page on CivStart’s website at:

Responses to Questions

No questions yet.


To apply for this RFP, please complete the Challenge-Response Form through the CivStart Local Government Innovation programs site at

The challenge response form will include the following questions:

A. Startup/Company Information

  • Company Name

  • Contact Name

  • Contact Email

  • Contact Phone Number

  • Company Website

  • Company Location/Address

  • Team Size/ Total number of team members in your company or team.

  • Case Studies: URL for background material on your product or team (i.e., video, case studies, blog piece, etc.), if any.

  • Briefly describe the product / service your company or team can provide (max 300 characters).

B. Program Expectations and Commitments

  • Interviews are anticipated to take place in May or June with the option of being done virtually or in person. Will you be available during this time?

  • Are you able to commit to visiting the location of this government organization once?

  • The response to this Challenge is to establish a free or low-cost short-term pilot with clear objectives identified in a Scope of Work. A full contract may be considered at the end of the pilot program.

C. Program Proposal

  • Description of your proposed solution.

  • How will your technology help the city achieve its outcomes?

  • Will you be creating a new product / service, or will you be customizing an existing product / service for this challenge?

  • What makes your team qualified to work on this challenge (i.e., previous customer success, professional experience, academic degrees, research, previous product development experience, etc.)?

D. Cost Proposal

  • What is the estimated range of the cost of you to build and pilot your proposed solution product / service?

  • What is the estimated range of average hourly labor costs for key staff required to develop and pilot your product/service?

  • What is the estimated range of any equipment or software that would need to be purchased to demonstrate and/or pilot your product / service?

E. Conflicts of Interest

  • Describe any potential conflicts of interest that your firm may have regarding the project, as well as individual conflicts of proposed personnel, if any.

Challenge ID:


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