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Local

Safe Passage could be in line for DeKalb TIF incentives

Staff members say they didn't request the money, but welcome chance to partner with city

DeKALB – After a week of contentious tax increment financing troubles, the city of DeKalb has other plans for the previously spoken-for $2.5 million in TIF money, including assistance for Safe Passage Inc.’s planned facility at the site of the former DeKalb Clinic.

Ahead of Friday’s Joint Review Board meeting, set for 2 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St., City Manager Bill Nicklas is presenting the board with a list the city has compiled for future projects that could receive TIF funding. The board is made up of representatives from various taxing bodies who receive surplus funds from TIF districts.

In addition to recommending Pappas Development receive almost $3 million in total from TIF funds for renovating a former auto dealership at Fourth and Locust streets into a two-building mixed-used commercial retail and residential space, Nicklas has identified a number of other projects that could be eligible for funds.

Subject to both review board and City Council approval, Nicklas is recommending $300,000 from TIF 2 increment go toward demolition and sanitary sewer relocation at the building now owned by Safe Passage at 217 Franklin St., the review board agenda shows.

Lynnea Erickson Laskowski, prevention and communication services director for Safe Passage, said the organization was unaware the city was recommending a TIF incentive for them, but would welcome the financial assistance.

“That was news to us,” Erickson Laskowski said. “But we trust the city’s judgment and we’re excited to be able to offer our services and see how we can partner with the city.”

Pappas Development sold the former DeKalb Clinic building to Safe Passage for $155,000, Erickson Laskowski confirmed. The sale closed this month, she said.

Although the domestic violence shelter has been secretive about its facility location, Erickson Laskowski said that will soon change. “It’s going to be a public location,” she said.

“We’re moving away from that (secret) model because security and technology is better. We have locked doors, you have to be buzzed in everywhere you go, it’s a really safe environment for us and clients, and the police know where we are. If an offender is going to find their victim, we’d rather they came here so we can handle it as opposed to finding them at home.”

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