Interplay Park

InterPlay Park is an intergenerational park for the people of Peoria that reconnects communities divided by the construction of the I-74 Interstate corridor in 1958.

Interstate-74 brought Peoria into America’s interstate highway system and was expected to facilitate progress and prosperity, but its construction created unforeseen consequences and ultimately damaged the city fabric. In Peoria, as with many other US cities, the interstate encouraged urban sprawl and suburbanization, hollowing out downtown. Viable residential neighborhoods were altered and abandoned. Downtown retailers and restaurateurs eventually left with their shoppers and diners in tow.

By creating a park over I-74 that connects North Valley and the Downtown District it allows the divided neighborhoods to once again be whole. A walkable district will encourage downtown foot traffic and spur new development and investment in the adjacent neighborhoods. Surrounded by multiple existing community organizations, non-profits, and healthcare businesses, the park can extend the mission of community-oriented development to public spaces in Peoria.

InterPlay Park consists of programmatic “molecules” or gathering spaces of varying sizes that intermix opportunities to play for all age groups. The play molecules are strategically disbursed across a flexible lawn space, where users can lounge, walk, or play catch. The lawn could also host interactive sculptures and events. Two iconic landmarks anchor each end of the park, aiding in pedestrian wayfinding. Drivers on the I-74 below will see these landmarks as they drive to and from Downtown Peoria. On the eastern side of the park, The Window opens to the highway below, creating an oculus that stimulates curiosity and beckons users to peer down onto the interstate. On the western side of the park, The Tree Cathedral frames the sky above, naturally raising the gaze of visitors and sparking imagination.

InterPlay Park has the potential to become a destination that spurs development and investment in Downtown Peoria and connects the growing hospital district with both the downtown core and the residential North Valley neighborhood. With InterPlay Park, the I-74 corridor becomes a walkable destination in the city, rather than an area to avoid. Parks and open space are vital for the cultivation of physical and mental health while equitable access to local green space is critical for community health and social cohesion. InterPlay Park aims to revive the spirit of Downtown Peoria by highlighting the vibrant possibilities when people of all ages and backgrounds can gather together and play.

Project Goals

Existing Interstate-74

Stitch Neighborhoods

Create Intergenerational community Play

Spur Economic Development and Community Engagement

Initiate Greener City

Existing Interstate-74

Stitch Neighborhoods

Physically connect North Valley with Downtown Peoria

Connect growing hospital district to Downtown and North Valley

Create a more walkable neighborhood

Provide new green space for Peorians

Create Intergenerational
and community play

Create play opportunities for all age groups and community groups

Provide residential neighborhoods, healthcare campus, and Downtown Peoria with amenities, green space, and recreation opportunities

Focus on sensory play and tactile experiences that enliven all the senses

Provide community programming based on community input

Spur Economic Development
and community engagement

Stimulate economic investment along the I-74 corridor

Restore city fabric to foster a more human scale experience and more vibrant downtown

Encourage pop up events and temporary installations on adjacent parking lots and vacant lots

Build off existing non-profit initiatives and programming and provide new spaces for congregation, fundraising, and interaction

Initiate Greener City

Minimize air pollution, noise pollution, and urban heat island effect

Create habitat corridor from bluff to riverfront

Implement city's stormwater initiatives

Envision alternate transit methods, focusing on pedestrian, cycling, and public transit

Park Concepts


Urban History


Click or touch to zoom in.

Graphic of Peoria Timeline 1819-2021

Engagement Survey

Step 1: We need to hear from you! send Us your general feedback.

Interactive Map

STEP 2: Click on a Lawn, Molecule, Parking lot, & adjacent street to send us your ideas for the park