Alderman tries to address all issues

By Mike Droege

First Ward Alderman Chris Hoagland, an NIU student, has been busy trying to keep Huskie Buses running in the Greek Row area and to make it legal for 19-year-olds to enter the local bars.

“I’ve been working at acquainting myself with all issues and departments of the city, not just those which affect students,” Hoagland said.

One issue that affects NIU students is the proposed banning of Huskie Buses from Ridge Drive, Blackhawk Road and part of Normal Road for the fall semester.

City officials considered eliminating Huskie Buses for the fall in March because of damage caused to the streets by the buses.

“We have had discussions between myself, members of the Student Association and city officials to try to resolve the problem,” she said.

Negotiations have resulted in a proposal that would divide the cost of reconstructing the roads equally between area residents and the city, City Manager Mark Stevens said.

The proposal calls for the cost to be spread over a 10-year period and financed by a general obligation bond floated by the city. A special property tax levied on residents of the affected areas would pay for half of the expected cost of rebuilding the streets, Stevens said.

“The residents of the area have been supportive of this (proposal),” Hoagland said.

The special tax levy first must be subject to a public hearing and then approved by the council.

Another of Hoagland’s goals was to use DeKalb’s status as a home-rule city to lower the minimum age of admission into bars from 21 to 19.

“The residents of my ward are interested in it. I have to concern myself in what they’re interested in,” Hoagland said.

However, work on this project may be at a temporary standstill. “A state law went through which pertains to those under 21 (in bars). We will have to wait to see how it affects the home rule in DeKalb,” she said.