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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

55+ housing development approved

Mayor Cohen Barnes begins the public hearing on an amendment to the 2020-2024 Community Development Block Grant consolidated action plan and 2024 CDBG annual action plan Monday in the Yusunas Meeting Room at the DeKalb Public Library. The amendment will move funds to Economic Development for Opportunity DeKalb’s Project Launchpad. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Monday’s city council meeting featured approval of funding for construction and renovations. 

The storefront for the upcoming dispensary at 818 W. Lincoln Highway – the Junction Shopping Center – was approved for a $25,000 reimbursement of funds from the city’s Fund 400 Architectural Improvement Program.  

The funding was awarded to aid in funding electrical, plumbing and other essential renovations to the storefront.

Bill Nicklas, the DeKalb city manager, provides background to the City Council about reimbursements through the city’s Fund 400 Architectural Improvement Program. A $25,000 reimbursement for renovations to a storefront within the Junction Shopping Center was approved Monday. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

The Fund 400 AIP was created to provide businesses outside of DeKalb’s TIF districts similar architectural improvement funding to those inside the TIF districts, according to Bill Nicklas, the DeKalb city manager. 

The $25,000 awarded to the dispensary matches an equal contribution to DeKalb’s current dispensary, Excelleaf. 

Similarly, the American Legion Post 66 located at 1204 S. Fourth St. was approved for some funding via the Fund 400 AIP. 

The American Legion was awarded $8,119.54 for the renovation of the post’s sign. 


A rezoning application for a new over 55-years-old housing project at the Villas at Bridges of Rivermist passed its first reading and had its second reading waived.

The new housing project will fill the vacant lot on Bethany Road that has been vacant since 1997 when the Bridges of Rivermist neighborhood was first zoned. 

The proposed plan will contain 224 dwelling units with the estimated price range being $350,000 to $615,000, according to the City Council agenda

Local residential community builder Brian Grainger has been leading the plan, and Grainger has previously built similar communities in Sycamore and Genoa.

Eleven Rivermist residents – including the current homeowners association president and vice-president – spoke at Monday’s City Council meeting. Only three were opposed to the project.

The HOA voted on approval of this new development – 184 for and 53 opposed – according to Scot Spier, president of the board of directors of the Rivermist HOA. 


The City Council tabled a conversation around approving a packaged liquor license for the planned convenience store and deli at 802 S. Fourth Street, formerly the 7-Eleven. 

Yusri Kattoum, owner of Fourth Street Market LLC, applied for the license so his business could sell a six-pack of beer with the sandwiches and other goods he plans to sell at the convenience store.  

“I’m looking to give them a selection of items,” Kattoum said regarding his business plan.

While the council voiced their support of a deli or convenience store at this location, they voiced concern over the business shifting into another liquor store. 

Greg Perkins, fourth ward alderman, said that he was for a deli but not for a liquor store. 

“My fear is just this: If the sandwich business doesn’t go well, it would be easy to flip it to just a liquor store,” Perkins said. “And then we’ve got another liquor store that no one is really looking for, and it’s in the shadow of the school right there.” 

The council discussed finding ways to limit the store’s alcohol capacity and to ensure that the business would stay the convenience store it is proposed to be. 

However, the council tabled the discussion stipulating that Kattoum should speak to city officials to limit what his store can sell which will lead to the council’s approval of his application for a license. 


The city approved two amendments to the Community Development Block Grant spending, moving $125,000 from the CV Public Facilities/Infrastructure Street Improvements to Economic Development for Opportunity DeKalb’s Project Launchpad.

This money will be dedicated to giving DeKalb’s Annie Glidden North neighborhood training and networking to promote entrepreneurship and business acumen.

The council also approved $63,730 from CV Public Facilities/Infrastructure Street Improvements to Public Facilities for street improvements in the southeastern quadrant of DeKalb. 

Mayor Cohen Barnes also released two proclamations at the meeting: 

Barnes established a National Transit Employee Appreciation Day in DeKalb on March 18.

Barnes also approved an honor for Voluntary Action Center for its 50th anniversary. 

The next city council meeting will be at 6 p.m. March 26 in the Yusunas Meeting Room of the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St. 

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