PEORIA – Planners for a controversial outdoor amphitheater in Donovan Park have said they are, at least for now, withdrawing their request to the Peoria Park District to grant them the use of 18 acres for the project.

The announcement on Tuesday came in the wake of the controversial park board meeting last week in which organizers of the pavilion in the park faced strong opposition from neighbors and activists as well. than to the reluctance of several people within the park’s board of directors, made up of seven members.

Trustees were due to vote next week on whether to approve a lease agreement with the group that would bring the district $ 100,000 a year in exchange for allowing them to use the land in the southeast corner of the park.

Previously: A controversial Donovan Park pavilion proposal comes to a vote in October. Here is what you need to know

Instead, January 2022 is the earliest it would take back to the board.

Supporters say they will try to find consensus with opponents

Sara Connor-James, head of the Pavilion in the Park group, called the board’s decision “regrettable” last week to postpone the vote to its October 13 meeting instead of a subsequent vote on October 27.

“It does not meet the ‘need to know’ of the community,” she said. “There is no rush in something of this importance.”

And she said that by delaying at least until next January, they would have time for those meetings, including with locals and environmental activists nearby, and would try to build consensus.

“It is important for us to have time to understand your concerns,” she said Tuesday at a mid-day press conference at Donovan Park. About 50 feet away were nearly a dozen opponents, holding signs and sporting T-shirts pledging to protect the green space of the old golf course.

In gestation for three years, the project of a performing arts center would have relied on private donations but would have used public land.

The building would only use two acres of land, with the rest left as green space. Workforce development and education programs for children would be held there as well as concerts, organizers said.

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Opponents say they hope the proposal won’t come back

Emily Cahill, the district executive director, said the measure would not appear on the council’s agenda on October 13 for any discussion because the proposal was withdrawn.

David Pittman, an opponent, said the flag proposal should be “put to rest” for good. He and his opponent Luan Railsback called him a non-runner.

“Move it somewhere else, and it’s not an argument (‘not in my backyard’) because I don’t live in that neighborhood,” Railsback said. “I come to this park because there are natural green spaces.”

Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.