DeKalb planning officials are seeking residents' feedback on a proposed revitalization plan for a neighborhood in the northwest part of the city.
A number of concerns have been raised about the neighborhood known as Annie Glidden North, including safety, exterior maintenance and quality of life issues.
Aaron Stevens, a management analyst in the DeKalb City Manager’s office, said the problem is that the area adjacent to Northern Illinois University has evolved far from its original purpose, which was to provide affordable housing for NIU students.
“Now we’re seeing lower-income families that are now occupying those spaces," he said, "and the neighborhood wasn’t designed for families and delivering services to families.”
The proposed Annie Glidden North Revitalization Plan will look at ways to make the area safer, more attractive and more economically viable. The city has hired an urban planning firm as a consultant and put together a task force made up of local stakeholders from Northern Illinois University, the DeKalb School District, churches, nonprofits and other city and county organizations.
Jason Michnik, an economic development planner with DeKalb’s Community Development Department, said that, even with the consultant and task force, the plan’s success greatly depends on engagement with those who live, work and go to school in DeKalb.
“The whole premise of the project is to be community-driven," he said, "to provide input for potential solutions and different initiatives so that we can do things like increase the quality of life for residents in the area.”
There will be a series of public meetings to discuss the plan and gather that feedback. The first is this Wednesday night at Westminster Presbyterian Church in DeKalb.