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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Greek Life Center construction extends to 2025

DeKalb water system to expect upgrades
Rachel Cormier
Cub Scout Pack #104 attends the DeKalb City Council meeting on Oct. 23. The Cub Scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of Monday’s meeting. (Rachel Cormier | Northern Star)

DeKALB – NIU can expect to purchase the land for its Greek Life Center in March, while final construction is planned to end by 2025. 

The NIU Foundation, which will purchase the property between the intersection of West Hillcrest Drive and Blackhawk Road known as the “L,” will now have until Dec. 31, 2025, to submit a final occupancy permit. The permit will signify that the center had passed an inspection and met all building codes.

The extension changed the deadline for the Foundation to enter into a purchase and sale agreement with the city by March 31, 2024, instead of immediate construction after it entered a redevelopment agreement with the city in July.

In addition, the Foundation will coordinate building concept designs and finalized plans for the space’s use with the board before the property is approved.


The city’s growing economy has motivated it to replace its 17-year-old water system.

Baxter & Woodman, Inc., an engineering and technology consulting group, was selected to prepare a new strategic water model and water master plan assessment because it completed a similar study for the city in 2006.

The business’ model would create a “roadmap” for necessary improvements to the city’s current water system. A necessary expansion is needed to meet the demands of corporation warehouses including Meta, Ferrara and Kraft-Heinz for potable water sources.

The former model does account for the recent growth in business and large centers seen in the past four years, according to the agenda. Additionally, the current Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition relies on outdated hardware, including Windows 7, which has not allowed the program to be updated since 2014.

The study will determine where water is needed and if the current distribution system should be improved or replaced. Similarly, the final master plan will consider if more water storage, including wells, water towers and water tanks, would be needed and the estimated costs for all.

The study will begin this year although a time frame was not specified at the meeting.

In the meantime, the city went on to purchase water treatment chemicals consisting of bulk orders of fluoride, phosphate and salt for the 2024-2025 calendar year. 


DeKalb’s skyrocketing Equalized Assessed Value has determined lower levy costs for the city’s annual property tax, which is a break for its citizens.

The city has strived for a lower levy since DeKalb’s aggregate property taxes were reportedly 20% higher than its neighboring cities’ from its desired levy below 9%, which averages about $9.00 per $100 EAV.

In 2022, the property tax rate declined from 11.1% to 10.1%, but a table projecting the city’s 2023 EAV expects an amount rivaling almost a billion dollars: $998,000,000, according to the meeting’s agenda.

The city attributes this boom to the addition of the four industrial companies, Meta, Ferrara, Wehrli and Amazon that would contribute an estimated $150 million from last year, according to the agenda.

Mayor Cohen Barnes celebrated the city’s growth in tandem with the recent increase of assessment values for property in DeKalb. 

“9.53% that just hit everyone’s mailbox a few weeks ago was from the DeKalb Township Assessor’s Office,” Barnes said. “That meant the value of our homes went up 9.53%.”

Barnes and City Manager Bill Nicklas went on to explain the benefit of the EAV’s growth would cancel out the increased property taxes.

The proposed levy of $8,123,458 would keep citizens’ tax rates the same by using the increased property tax value to pay unfunded Police and Fire pensions and General Fund revenues that would normally be paid by the levy.

“Our rates should go down about 9.15%, and the actual dollars out of pocket, because of that 9.53% increase in the overall value, are gonna be about the same as last year,” Nicklas said.


The appearance of Cub Scout Pack #104 filled the back row of the beginning of Monday’s meeting and put a patriotic start to an eventful evening.

The organization led the council and meeting attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance surrounding the American flag with salutes and ending with a picture with the entire council.

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