DeKalb Center cleaned up

By Sean Thomas

The DeKalb Center, 1100 W. Lincoln Hwy., received a great deal of attention last fall when it incurred more than $6,000 in city fines, code violations, and liabilities.

But the trouble-plagued complex has made a “360 degree turnaround,” and people should “witness for themselves” the result of the renovation, said DeKalb Building Inspector Rick Monas.

“The DeKalb Center is on an even keel with any apartment complex in the area,” Monas said Thursday.

The list of violations appeared insurmountable when Joseph Navilio Sr. began to actively run the family-owned complex. Navilio’s son, Joseph Navilio, Jr., previously operated DeKalb Center.

“My original outlook was that it (the renovation) was going to be a very trying situation,” Monas said. “He (Navilio Sr.) deserves a lot of credit.”

Navilio pinpointed the original problem as bad management, and said he personally shows up six days a week to insure the building operation is running properly.

“You have to be here everyday and make sure things are taken care of,” Navilio said. “I’ve put $80,000 into the building, and I have a 50-gallon drum of pesticide that goes to work at the vaguest mention of ‘cockroach.'”

City Attorney Ron Matekaitis devised a four installment payment plan for the fines incurred as a result of the complaints, said Monas. As of Dec. 16, all fines will be paid and the DeKalb Center can begin with a clean slate, he said.

Approval was given after five inspectors combed the building and checked the cleanup, repairs, and modifications that were made, Monas said. The reason the city used five inspectors was for timeliness, he said.

Future inspections will be performed on a per-complaint basis, Monas said.

If the owners had not complied with city regulations, the city could have taken stronger action, including license revocation and litigation.