To the Editor:
While the Bold Ideas initiative was being formulated, existing groups such as the Landmarks Commission and the North Fifth Ward group were not used.
These groups know the area and history of the community. Certainly the mistake of referring to the Ellwood Historic District as “Elmwood” would not have happened. This error and the pointed questions brought forth by so many people serve to lay the groundwork for distrust of the leadership and a lack of confidence in the consulting services. This is what happens when decisions are made in isolation, ignoring what exists instead of embracing and understanding it.
Questions for NIU …
To date, what is the cost for the Bold Ideas gatherings, graphics, and consultant?
How much are the electric cars, or “puppies” going to cost?
Specifically, who was part of formulating all these Bold Ideas?
Where is the Board of Trustees in all this?
What is going on with former President Peters’ Vision 2020?
Why aren’t the existing buildings on campus better maintained?
How actively is NIU looking at the campus safety issues?
How active is NIU’s recruitment program?
Here’s an idea: Remove the greenhouse west of the NIU entry on Lincoln Highway and build a greenhouse near the Greek Row area. A joint agricultural venture with NIU, DeKalb County Farm Bureau, and Kishwaukee College might result in a premiere facility that could promote agricultural research and internships. This taps into the resources of the area and could utilize elements of the successful business college.
Questions for the city
Is the city planning to use tax increment financing money to assist Shodeen in building more multifamily housing at Pearl Street and Lincoln?
How actively is the city looking at improving its eastern and southern corridors?
Have NIU and the city considered using existing older/empty structures throughout the city, such as Mooney’s?
Have NIU and the city looked at using all or parts of the Greek Row area for future campus expansion and parking space?
Are there neighborhoods in DeKalb that can use improvements? Are there improvements needed at NIU? Should the city of DeKalb and NIU work together? Yes, to all the questions. Working together is the right thing to do.
However, upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that the positive aspect of working together falls flat because the process has not been well thought-out due to a lack of the inclusion of all the stakeholders.