DeKALB – Although several items still need to be negotiated, an agreement between Northwestern Medicine and the city of DeKalb to allow construction of a health and wellness center on Bethany Road might be days away, according to officials from both sides.
The $46 million project rests on unincorporated DeKalb County land, but it still requires access to the city’s stormwater system and the intersection of Bethany Road and Greenwood Acres Drive.
DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith said it appears that agreement can be reached within the next few days.
“If we reach an agreement by early next week, I think then it would be postured to be put on the agenda for the next City Council meeting,” Smith said.
The progress made on reaching an agreement was discussed during Monday’s council meeting. One of the items under negotiation is the cost of a one-time fee to allow the wellness center to connect to the stormwater system. Northwestern Medicine proposed a $15,000 fee to make the connection.
Jo Ellen Charlton, DeKalb community development director, said during Monday’s meeting that city staff looked at several ways to come up with a reasonable price to connect.
“We don’t want to allow [Northwestern Medicine] a connection to a system that city residents and businesses have paid for and the city continues to maintain on an annual basis,” Charlton said.
City engineers estimated how much it might cost if Northwestern Medicine connected into the system themselves and came up with anywhere between $250,000 to $400,000.
Staff then looked at the value of the stormwater system and how it may compare to the property it serves. With the system valued at about $2,000 an acre and the Northwestern site sitting on 75 acres, this would amount to about $150,000, but after consideration, staff contemplated a $100,000 fee.
Kim Waterman, senior media relations specialist at Northwestern Medicine, said she is confident a resolution can be reached in the near future.
“We remain excited about this project and the benefit it will bring to the community, including immediate jobs and future health and wellness programs,” Waterman said. “Our shared commitment to public safety and community development give us confidence we will come to a mutual agreement.”