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Letter: TIF monies used wisely for Barb City Manor

Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 12:04 a.m. CST

To the Editor:

The July 14 article “Expiration Dates – DeKalb’s TIF Districts approaching retirement” has an accompanying picture of the Barb City Manor dining hall. According to Barb City Manor Administrator Maureen Gerrity, some of the funds were used to replace the large windows there.

The use and role of tax increment financing money at Barb City Manor needs clarification, I feel.

Barb City Manor Retirement Home is the combination of two buildings, once known as the DeKalb Public Hospital, owned by the city of DeKalb. The 1922 portion was called Glidden Hospital; the larger Haish addition was added in 1961. The hospital closed when Kishwaukee Hospital opened in its new building in 1975.

A new use was sought by the city of DeKalb for its sturdy building. In 1979, with citizens’ approval, Barb City Manor opened in the Haish wing of the former hospital. It was to provide affordable retirement living for area senior citizens. The historic building was and is owned by the City of DeKalb. 

TIF funds have been used for the city’s building for HVAC, boiler, elevator, plumbing, electrical, and roof repairs and replacements. Asbestos abatement was completed. Up-to-date windows, tuck-pointing, weather and insulation systems, as well as other needed safety and structural repairs have been funded with TIF money. All of this has been done to keep the city’s building in good functioning order. Some “patched together” apartments are now attractive, and provide affordable retirement living. 

However, it would be a mistake to ignore the very significant community support that has been provided over the years. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised and donated for Barb City Manor’s many other new remodeling and renovation improvements. Individuals, groups, businesses, organizations, bequests, foundations, and Friends of Barb City Manor are and have been essential for the well-being and success of Barb City Manor.

TIF monies have been used wisely and justly by the city of DeKalb for Barb City Manor in support of this sturdy, efficient city-owned building. The historic structure, located on South First at Haish Boulevard in DeKalb, is a great asset for the City of DeKalb. Both TIF monies for the structure and much non-tax donations and private monies have enabled Barb City Manor to provide an affordable living retirement alternative for our community.

Averil Shreiber

Administrator 1980-1995, Kingston

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