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Our Street: Downtown Peoria wants visitors to feel the history

The Show's series Our Street is taking a closer look at neighborhoods around metro Phoenix — and what makes them tick.

So far in this series, we’ve visited economically-diverse areas of Phoenix and historic communities in the throes of change. So now, The Show heads out of the center-city, north up Grand Avenue and all the way west to Peoria, where Host Lauren Gilger recently found herself standing outside of a building that’s more than a century old.

Katie Gregory is Peoria’s deputy city manager. The Show met her there along with interim economic development director Jen Stein. These two are working to redevelop Peoria’s historic downtown. And in some ways, they are just on the cusp.

The interview occurred at a hip coffee shop that’s next door to an outdoor performance space. There’s the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts nearby, a community center and an historic firehouse that’s now an event center.

But much of the city’s history has been neglected — or downright given away. Scottsdale’s McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, for instance, features an historic train depot — that used to sit in Peoria.

Gregory and Stein want to change all that, beginning with that historic school which was built in 1906.

The Show also wants your help with this new series. If you know a great neighborhood we should know about, send us a note. Tell us about your favorite streets, blocks, hoods and haunts — all of the hidden gems you’ve found and want to spread the word about. We are at [email protected].

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.