The East Bluff neighborhood of Peoria is an area struggling to survive. Many of us love the diversity of the neighborhood and have made investments in our homes. We plan to stay. Unfortunately, the actions of a few keep the neighborhood in the news and gives the city a perception of the neighborhood that is far worse than reality.
That being said, I arrived home last evening to the sound of sirens. That is not an unusual sound. I thought about going out to the street to see if I could tell where the sirens were headed, but didn't. It was later that I learned of the shooting down the street that took the life of the clerk at the Peoria Food Stop on the corner. Sad, but not surprising.
Those of us who live near the store have complained since "Day One". We celebrated when the store closed while the owner was out of the country and were saddened when it re-opened. It became a magnet for those who like to loiter and "hang out". The patrons of the store increased the amount of litter in the area. The owner of the store tried to control the loitering and keep the area close to the store clean. He painted over the graffiti that was placed on his building. Personally, I was in the store one time - and that was to complain about the negative impact the store was having on the neighborhood.
At this point, I do not know if the owner was clerking last night. He was often there. It is always sad when a life is taken, but those of us in the neighborhood knew "it was only a matter of time".