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Fight the Blight one lot at a time

Bradley students will team up with the City of Peoria to make use of a vacant lot on North MacArthur Highway this Sunday.
Photo via Jenna Niedzwiedz

Bradley students are teaming up with the City of Peoria to rebuild and repurpose a vacant lot on the southside of Peoria in the upcoming weeks.

Alongside Moja Southern Kitchen & Creamery (located adjacent to the lot) and the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, Bradley public relations students are hosting the Fight the Blight project to find new uses for the many vacant lots in Peorias First District.

Were thrilled to be able to do something to bridge the gap between Bradley and the neighborhoods around us, Jenna Niedzwiedz, a senior public relations major, said. Its important for us to participate in this community and raise awareness of the issue of vacant spaces. This particular lot gets a lot of foot traffic, and could really use some beautifying.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, Peorians and Bradley students are invited to come to the ground-breaking event of the vacant lot at 301 N. MacArthur Highway to participate in this hands-on project.

We are looking forward to working with the students of Bradley University on a project that can be a benefit to the entire community, Stacy Peterson, communications specialist for the city of Peoria, said.

According to Niedzwiedz, the event is aimed not only to be fun for the community, but also to serve as a public forum to field community thoughts and ideas for the vacant lots. She also said she wants to see more Bradley students get out of the campus bubble and engage with other parts of the community.

The public relations group said it has many ideas of their own, but believes by incorporating the people who will actually be utilizing the space, they will be able to create something worthwhile for the neighborhood.

Intially, we wanted to create a sort of pocket park, but then realized we wanted to do something more unique, Sarah Brashear, a senior public relations major, said. Now, were thinking about a zen garden, since mindfulness is huge right now, but we want feedback [from other people as well] on Sunday.

The days events will include family-friendly games, face-painting and the opportunity to participate in a new community art project. Fight the Blight is free and open to the public.

For any questions or concerns, please contact Niedzwiedz at

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