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Historic Railroad Turntable Could Leave Peoria's Riverfront Park

The railroad turntable (c. 1885)
City of Peoria
The railroad turntable (c. 1885)

The 19th-century railroad turntable at Peoria’s Riverfront Park may soon go to a new home. 

The Monticello Railway Museum in east-Central Illinois wants to use the historic turntable as part of its functional railroad. 

“We are now looking at developing more comprehensive plans for the Riverfront Park, Bridge to Bridge and beyond. And it just doubled up, like we should make sure this goes into productive use," said Assistant City Manager Deborah Roethler. 

The turntable’s fate was first brought up for discussion when plans for the controversial River Trail Apartments were under consideration. Those plans fell apart in July of last year after several years of legal wrangling and protests from concerned citizens. 

Roethler said there are no development plans for the space once the turntable is gone. 

“I don’t believe that even if we wanted to we could do anything different. We have no intention of doing anything other than putting grass in place," she said. 

Roethler said the turntable could only be replaced by green space per the land swap agreements the city hammered out with state and federal agencies. 

The turntable once rotated railcars in a different direction on the tracks. It last saw usage in the 1960s. 

The Monticello Railway Museum would move the turntable at no cost to the city, likely sometime next year. 

A public meeting on the proposed move is set for 6 p.m. on October 17 at the Gateway Building. 

Copyright 2021 WCBU. To see more, visit WCBU.

Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.