Officials air views on street repair problem

By Paul Wagner

Although some streets along Greek Row will be repaired this summer, DeKalb city officials say the $1.2 million needed to fix streets in the north Greek Row area will not be available for several years.

Streets in the north Greek Row area are not the only ones in need of repair. First Ward Alderman Ron Matekaitis said Wednesday at an open forum at Delta Upsilon fraternity, 1114 Blackhawk, that Lucinda Avenue also is in need of repair, but a ban of buses from that street is not being considered. It would cost $1.5 to $2 million to fix Lucinda, he said.

DeKalb mayor Greg Sparrow said in a guest editorial, “If funding could be found, a strong case can be made to give a higher-priority to Lucinda Avenue reconstruction over north Greek Row.

Matekaitis said he opposed eliminating buses from north Greek Row. He said he realizes the streets are in a state of disrepair, but, “I can’t see that the pavement is in such bad shape it will jeopardize the safety of anyone driving in the area.”

If the roads could be repaired with temporary patching for 2 to 4 years, a new bond could be issued, Matekaitis said. A three-year-old $2.5 million dollar bond for city-wide street repair will be paid off in fiscal 1989. He said he hoped a new bond could be used to repair the streets.

Assistant City Manager Gary Boden said temporary patchings will accelerate road deterioration before and after the patch. He said the $35,000 spent by the city each year for patching of Lucinda and Greek Row streets is like “throwing money down a rathole because it’s not doing any good.”

Boden said the streets in north Greek Row are below state standards for streets with that amount of traffic. The state recommends 12 inches of pavement or 8 inches of concrete, but the roads have 10 inches of gravel and 2 inches of pavement, he said.

Two streets in Greek Row will be resurfaced this summer through the $700,000 DeKalb received from Build Illinois, Matekaitis said. Hillcrest from Normal to Annie Glidden, and Normal to College Terrace will be resurfaced.

A recommendation regarding the bus damage to north Greek Row streets will come before the council at its April 13th meeting. Matekaitis said the recommendation might only call for the elimination of day bus service to the area because the city is concerned about students walking in the area at night.

Funding for street repairs in DeKalb usually comes from the state’s motor fuel tax. Matekaitis said DeKalb counts 16,000 students as residents and is able to receive about $560,000 yearly for repairs to the 90 miles of streets in the DeKalb city limits.

Matekaitis said he opposed a tax of Greek Row residents to pay for the roads. “I don’t think you have a community if you bill each neighborhood for streets,” he said, adding, “It’s user fees to an extreme.”

There might not be a lot of sympathy from the city for students who have to walk three extra blocks, Matekaitis said. He said he realizes it is a service students have come to depend on and he would vote against it. He encouraged students to attend the April 13th council meeting.