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Andrew Arnold of CORE Construction shares his story on moving back to Peoria after navigating the stress of downtown Chicago.
Two years ago, Andrew and his then fiancé Carly were living in Chicago, working jobs that they just didn’t enjoy. Now, they’ve moved down to Peoria where they’re happily married, they’re enjoying going into work everyday, and they’re expecting their first child.
Andrew, who grew up in East Peoria, left the region after completing his construction management degree at ISU. From there, he worked whatever jobs he could get up in Chicago until he landed a job at a big general contracting company downtown. While this job afforded him the opportunity to work on some amazing buildings, including an Oncology hospital right on Lakeshore drive, Andrew found that the company’s atmosphere wasn’t right for him.
“They wanted you to work 14-15 hours a day, but you only got paid for 8. They literally wanted you to give up your life for work. You’d even get threatened with your job. It was the first time I ever had anxiety in my life just from going to work,” said Andrew.
His wife, Carly, also had a similar experience. Carly grew up in the Alton area, a good-sized river town near St. Louis. She ended up working as a salesperson in downtown Chicago, but left her job to work part time hours at the Y. This experience was much better for her, but still wasn’t what she truly how she wanted to spend her time.
Additionally, their personal lives suffered from their high-stress jobs. “In Chicago, there’s always something to do. Everybody wants to something all the time, but you don’t ever have any money to do anything,” said Andrew.
They ultimately made the decision to relocate to the Greater Peoria. “We were kind of both ready to come back. We wanted to get married, start a family, and settle down,” said Andrew, “I was definitely ready to come back to something a little slower-paced, but was a big enough community to house a lot of the things that Chicago has.”
Since moving back, Andrew has taken a job with CORE Construction, and Carly is a social worker with the Children’s Home.
“I found a job, for the first time in my life that I actually care about. And honestly, I don’t mind getting up in the morning to go to work, whatsoever,” said Andrew. “I think your work life is one of the most important things in your own personal life because you spend so much time at work.”
In addition to working, being in the Greater Peoria region has afforded Andrew the opportunity to give back to the community. “We just did a Rebuilding Together project, they used to call it Christmas in April. It’s a one-weekend thing where we go in and assist people who need it with some upkeep on their house. Everyone gets involved, grabs a paintbrush, and goes to town. It’s cool because you get to meet a lot of people in the community that I’ve never met before,” said Andrew.
When asked to give his thoughts on our region compared to the other places he’s lived, Andrew had this to say, “Peoria has everything to offer on a small scale. It’s not the ocean or Lakeshore drive, but there’s all kinds of little things that you can get into if you look for them. If you go out and look for something that you’re interested in, you’ll find it.”
Interested in relocating to the area like Andrew and Carly? Request a relocation guide: