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DeKalb's Mayor Rides Momentum In State Of The City

Sarah Jesmer
Mayor Jerry Smith (center) during Aug. 26 council meeting

DeKalb’s Mayor says he sees several areas of growth in the city’s future. Jerry Smith delivered the annual address Monday night.

Smith pointed to several new businesses along Sycamore Road. They include a new Aldi grocery store and Planet Fitness gym to fill vacant buildings.

“Some business is growing, and a few go out of business too," Smith noted. "It’s the nature of the beast, my friends. To expect every business to succeed forever is simply unrealistic.” 

Elsewhere, he expects a cannabis dispensary in early summer pending state approval.

He also drew attention to downtown developments. They include the Cornerstone building, Jamrah restaurant, and renovations at the Egyptian Theatre.

The City is planning to put its current municipal building up for sale and move City Hall operations downtown as well.

“Our move will be a viable and visible sign that your government believes in its downtown,” Smith said.

In areas of recreation, Smith lauded the decision to keep the River Heights and Buena Vista golf courses open this year, despite declining revenues.

Public safety continues to bring challenges. Smith says improvements have been made as part of the Annie Glidden North revitalization plan. That includes increased lighting, park redevelopment, and a fresh food hub.

A fire at 808 Ridge displaced more than a hundred residents in July. The building is owned by Hunter properties. He applauded what he calls Hunter's "new willingness" to work with city staff to address issues in housing.

“We need to push forward in seeing that our housing markets stresses quality," Smith said. "The majority of this community’s landlords are doing just that.”

He says the apartment complex may soon re-open.