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Sycamore mayor reverses course on sober house location

SYCAMORE – Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy reversed course Wednesday and urged the City Council to support DeKalb County’s plan to turn the residence at 491 E. State St. into an sober living home for men.

Mundy had previously opposed the plan, but after talking with Drug Court Judge Robbin Stuckert on Tuesday, the mayor sent out a letter explaining his decision and urging the council “to take the issue off the table and vote to permit this facility to open.”

“The opportunity for a man or men to live in a safe supportive house with other recovering men and the possibility that some of them could become wage earning, tax-paying, responsible guys who become makers not takers in the community outweighs the concerns for permitting the 23rd Judicial Circuit and DeKalb County use of the 491 E. Sate St. property to run a recovery house for drug and alcohol former abusers,” Mundy wrote.

Mundy said he still had concerns about taxes, safety, costs, facility management and the affect the facility could have on neighbors. However, he said those concerns “don’t outweigh the potential good” that could come from the program. In an interview with the Daily Chronicle on Wednesday, Mundy said that if the program doesn’t work or if concerns raised by aldermen become issues, the city would intervene.

“If it goes south, it won’t continue,” he said.

The proposed location of the facility has been a sticking point for Sycamore aldermen. Mundy said he talked with Stuckert about the four other sites that the county had considered for the sober living home. The judge gave specific reasons why the others were unsuitable.

“There are more details on alternate sites that are available, but the point is that [DeKalb County officials] did due diligence with these, but these points were made, but perhaps not strongly made, to [the] council,” Mundy wrote

Mundy said he hopes to convince the rest of the council.

“I think the chances are pretty good that we can reform our efforts and get this done,” Mundy told the Daily Chronicle. “I think we should try this.”

In March, the Sycamore City Council voted 5-2 to deny the county’s request for a special use permit for the sober living home. Aldermen Pete Paulsen and Chuck Stowe voted in favor of giving the special use permit to the county, while Aldermen Alan Bauer, Steve Braser, Janice Tripp, Rick Kramer and Greg Taylor voted against it. Alderman Curt Lang was absent. Taylor has since left the council and newcomer Becky Springer took the oath of office Monday. Later in March, the City Council voted 4-3 to reconsider the county’s proposal.

Springer said Wednesday that she would consider the mayor’s comments while continuing to research the issue. However, she was optimistic about finding a solution.

“I’m still doing fact-finding myself, but I do think we can work something out to get this up and running,” she said.

Bauer, Lang, Braser, Kramer, and Tripp didn’t return calls Wednesday afternoon seeking comment.

At a meeting Monday, Bauer, Lang, Braser and Tripp said they remained concerned about the location of the site despite a list of provisions negotiated by city and county administrators aimed at easing worries about the proposal.

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