Distribution center could bring 1000 jobs to DeKalb area by 2020

In+this+Oct.+31+file+photo%2C+Alderwoman+Carolyn+Morris+discusses+industrial+developments+at+a+city+council+meeting.

In this Oct. 31 file photo, Alderwoman Carolyn Morris discusses industrial developments at a city council meeting.

Kierra Frazier

DeKALB — A 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center, which could create 1,000 jobs by the end of 2020, was approved in an ordinance unanimously favored by the City Council.

A food manufacturing and distribution company, of which the name has not yet been identified, is interested in developing a portion of the 343-acre Chicago West Business Center property, according to the Oct. 28 City Council agenda. The property is located by the Interstate 88 tollway.

If the site is chosen, the company will start the first phase of the project which includes building the food distribution center.

Phase two of the project involves the 466,560 square foot packing center which is hoped to closely follow phase one, according to the agenda.

The two buildings would take up approximately 106 acres in the 343-acre site.

Jerry Krusinksi, CEO of Krusinksi Construction Co., which owns the Chicago West land, said he looks forward to attracting the company to DeKalb.

“We finally have a great opportunity to bring a potential prospect into the neighborhood that would provide a variety of employment opportunities,” Krusinksi said.

Second Ward Alderperson Bill Finucane showed support for the ordinance. He said DeKalb would be an outstanding location for the potential company.

“On behalf of this council, I want to make it very clear, speaking of these corporations that are considering coming here, we want you to locate here,” Finucane said. “We welcome you with open arms.”

The site layout, utility extensions, stormwater management, access, road improvements, incentives and the impact on neighboring property owners are all been considered by City Manager Bill Nicklas, according to the agenda.

Several residents at the meeting voiced their concerns about the potential project.

Resident John Conlin said he lives across the street from the potential project and is concerned about the traffic the distribution center could bring and not being able to back out of his driveway.

“Krusinksi said he’s talked to all the neighbors, and he’s working with the neighbors, but I think the only neighbors he’s talking to are the ones he’s trying to buy a property from or go into business with,” Conlin said. “He hasn’t talked to any of the residents that I’m aware of, and he certainly hasn’t talked to me.”

Resident Dwayne Brown said he supports the ordinance because the city needs the business, additional revenue and growth.

Nicklas said the concerns residents have are legitimate, and he will see that they will be addressed.

Resident Dwayne Brown said he supports the ordinance because the city needs the business, additional revenue and growth.

Nicklas said the concerns residents have are legitimate, and he will see that they will be addressed.

Other business

Council members passed an ordinance on first reading regarding proposed cannabis zoning regulations. The ordinance was passed unanimously.

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted in favor of proposed cannabis zoning regulations during an Oct. 9 meeting and conducted a public hearing on the proposed changes.

At Monday night’s meeting, a vote to get rid of the prohibition of craft growers, cultivation centers, infusers, processors, transporters and medical cannabis cultivation centers was passed five to two.

First Ward Alderperson Carolyn Morris suggested removing the prohibitions.

“If we [get rid of the prohibitions], we will allow someone who wants to open one of these types of facilities to at least choose and say ‘that’s a community that’s willing to welcome us,’” Morris said.

Police

DeKalb Patrol Officer Ryan Wilkens was promoted to a police sergeant at Monday night’s meeting. The promotion follows the retirement of Sergeant Jim Hacker.

Wilkens was hired by the DeKalb Police Department in 2011 and previously served as a field training officer and range instructor and is a member of the county-wide Special Operations Team.

Interim Police Chief John Petragallo said Wilkens is a highly motivated, intelligent and driven police officer who is a welcome addition to the supervisory staff.