SYCAMORE – The City Council will allow the repurposing of the old Brown’s County Market store into an indoor storage facility and approved an agreement to bring Metronet into Sycamore right before the power went out during its meeting Monday night at the Sycamore Center, 308 W. State St.
The council voted, 7-0, to pass a motion for Metronet to build and operate an antenna tower between DeKalb and Sycamore on Bethany Road. The council also voted, 5-2, to approve a nonexclusive cable TV franchise agreement with Metronet.
Mayor Curt Lang said a few members were concerned about the provider’s services not being available to everyone in the community right off the bat. He said Metronet representatives explained that they will start service in one part of the city and then expand as other areas express an interest in the services.
“I have no doubt that they’ll be everywhere in a short amount of time,” Lang said.
Metronet spokeswoman Kathy Scheller said that what the company is offering to the community is competition for internet, phone and cable services.
“I believe that our investment, which is upward of $10 million, speaks for itself,” Scheller said. “We believe in the community, and we think it’s a community that Metronet will do extremely well in.”
The DeKalb City Council approved a similar agreement with Metronet during its meeting Tuesday.
Sycamore aldermen also voted, 7-0, to grant Doug Olson, KEEP.Rentals president, a special use permit to turn what was once Brown’s County Market on Route 64 into an indoor self-storage facility and two other 1,500 square-foot stores.
In the past five years, City Manager Brian Gregory said, the City Council heard from several different businesses who were interested in repurposing the space. He said none of the proposals that were brought up were feasible or in compliance with current planning requirements.
Gregory said residents would’ve loved to see another grocery store go into the space. He said the community is “already at a saturation point” for those types of businesses.
Olson said his company is investing about $2 million into the project, which includes a new roof, painting the building exterior and restriping the parking lot. He has said the company has been meeting with residents for a year and a half to find a good use for the property that would not disrupt a nearby neighborhood.
“It’s great to see positive feedback from the community and the leaders in the community,” he said.
Lang said the interesting part of the meeting was that the building lost power during it. After about 15 minutes, the meeting resumed after police and fire officials brought in backup light sources and with the help of a cellphone to record audio in compliance with the Open Meetings Act.
“I think the ability of Sycamore’s public service people to be flexible and rise to the occasion is an awesome thing,” Lang said.