DeKALB – Jason Buhk, a lifelong DeKalb resident, said he thought there were a lot of great ideas presented by the Camiros planning firm during Monday’s Annie Glidden North revitalization community meeting.
But questions still remain on how the city can pay for such improvements and what to focus efforts on first, such as in the area of the vacant Campus Cinemas building, he said.
“Paths and intersections are great, but it could be for nothing if you don’t address problems in that area,” Buhk said.
In the third of four community meetings on the revitalization plan, Camiros took a backseat approach and presented two 10- to 15-year themed plans for the area, as well as ideas recommended by the four subcommittees of the Annie Glidden North Task Force. Residents then were able to submit additional ideas or provide recommendations for these plans.
“We wanted to stay out of the conversation as much as possible and just show that we’re hard at work dealing with more specific problems,” Camiros associate Thomas Ramler-Olson said.
The first plan had a “healthy home” theme and featured single-family residential development, community gardens, roundabouts along Annie Glidden Road and a family service facility at the Campus Cinemas site.
The second plan was focused on the Northern Illinois University campus community and included a mixed-use building with student-oriented services, running paths and other park enhancements and a node for night-life establishments.
Buhk said a good start to improvements would be cleaning up the area, which would give residents a better attitude about the neighborhood. He also wished for NIU fraternities and sororities to be more accountable for keeping their buildings clean, especially for families who live next door.
Representatives of city and county agencies also were in attendance to present information on programs and resources they offer to the neighborhood.
The DeKalb Police Department answered questions about the Safe Streets Initiative, which had its second phase approved by the DeKalb City Council in March, and the Changing Outcomes by Making Parents Accountable, Supported and Successful program, which also had a successful first reading vote by the council in March.
Erin Tamms, community programs director for Family Service Agency, discussed the new on-site case management program for University Village.
The total amount of funding to be provided through the agreement is $100,000 over a three-year period, which is provided by Security Properties, the owner of the University Village property. The largest portion of the funding would go toward the wages of hiring a part-time case manager that would be an employee of FSA.
The case manager would work 20 hours a week on-site and coordinate with other agencies involved, including Illinois Work Net, Adventure Works, Kishwaukee College, DeKalb County Community Gardens, DeKalb County Health Department and Community Coordinated Child Care.
“The manager would be an advocate for residents to make sure they get services and can meet challenges,” Tamms said.
Other agencies in attendance included the DeKalb Fire Department, DeKalb County Health Department, DeKalb Park District and Northwestern Medicine.
The second community meeting was held in November and came on the heels of a series of shots-fired incidents within the neighborhood. Ramler-Olson said there was a delay in scheduling the next meeting because of the formation of the subcommittees, which made the coordination of task force meetings difficult.