Annie Glidden Revitalization Plan appoints subcommittees to further progress


Members from the Annie Glidden North community form small teams to discuss various improvement areas.

By Jessie Kern

DeKALB — The Annie Glidden North Revitalization Plan Task Force has established subcommittees to focus on specific areas in need of change to move the project forward.

The third community meeting will be held in mid-March, giving the task force time to implement some of their planning. The Annie Glidden North Revitalization Plan is moving along with its set timeline and held the third task force meeting Monday night. The subcommittees are aiming to establish desired outcomes and brainstorm projects to be able to report on progress at the next community meeting.

Task force members expressed concerns regarding the progress of the project and its overall success. Similarly, Herb Rubin, Annie Glidden North Revitalization Plan Task Force chairperson, said he has received calls and emails from members of the task force expressing their concerns.

“We’ve gotten off to a slow start. Once we start the subcommittees, I think we will be actually going a lot faster because what we’re dealing with is a problem that’s very, very, very difficult, and we have a consultant working on it,” Rubin said. “Staff cares about it, but what’s coming to my head is that real progress is made.”

First Ward Alderperson David Jacobson said the city workers have teamed up with ComEd to address street-lighting concerns, and as of Monday, ComEd has committed to providing 1,000 new lightheads to improve the lighting on Greek Row and the Annie Glidden North corridor.

All members of the task force have been sectioned into different subcommittees as of Monday: community services, housing and commercial developments, neighborhood safety and security, transportation infrastructure and open space. Previously, members identified which subcommittee they would like to be a part of and were all able to receive their first choice as they were informed during the meeting.

The Annie Glidden North Revitalization Task Force was established to help with the planning process for the initiative, which engages DeKalb community members and officials in hopes of improving the desirability of the area. All members were appointed by Mayor Jerry Smith and represent different aspects of the community.

“The subcommittees are incredibly good,” Rubin said. “You get to talk very frankly with each other, you get people who are really interested in the area, and when you’re in a small group, you just kinda say, ‘I’d like to do X.’”

Rubin said subcommittees will allow members to be able to discuss what they would like to see happen, why and how to implement some of the solutions they develop during discussion.

“We’re really getting into the meat of the project,” Camiros Representative Adam Rosa said. “This is where we start to get down into some details about the individual challenges in the neighborhood, and so the subcommittee structure is very important.”

Subcommittees will work through a three-phase process with the goal to be completed by April 1.

Rosa said the first subcommittee meetings will determine the desired outcomes and establish goals within each group. The second meeting will be focused on strategizing ideas to propose specific projects to meet the previously determined goals, and the third phase will work to prioritize the different projects and identify probable partners for those projects.

“We have a larger community meeting coming up in mid-March, and we want to be able to report back on, at least, the desired outcomes and probably some of the projects ideas to the broader community at that meeting,” Rosa said.

Several task force members felt it essential for the ideas they develop within their subcommittees to be brought back and reviewed with the larger community.

“Once we have this set of ideas, they need to be brought back out to the larger community for reflection, prioritization and to get some feedback and other ideas that may not come out of this task force,” Rosa said.

Along with the subcommittees, Rosa said he plans to survey the area to better understand what different residents hope to see in the community and their expectations from the overall Annie Glidden North Revitalization Plan.

Rosa said the survey intends to focus on the commercial aspect of the market study to better understand the different shopping trends in the area, as well as to figure out what residents are hoping to see.

“The market strategy task is really looking at both the commercial and residential market here in Annie Glidden North area and trying to really figure out strategically how we can use that information to move the plan forward,” Rosa said.

Task force member Tiara Huggins said University Village residents have been continuously surveyed over a three-year span, and they are less willing to respond to surveys than previously.

“We surveyed them for three years straight, so I don’t know another way to get the information, but a lot of what you’re probably looking for, they’ve already been surveyed on,” Huggins said.

Task force member Michelle Bringas said it is important for previous surveys to be reported back to the community so they are aware they have been and are being heard.

“I think one step that can really engage and allow our community to know that they have been heard is for us to tell them what we’ve heard and ask if it’s still true, and then take steps to prioritize of these needs,” Bringas said.

Task force member Kurt Thurmaier said before moving forward with the survey, the task force needs to find data from previous studies to determine which aspects of the project have already been identified. Thurmaier also said using the previously collected data is necessary to narrow down questions and look at who responded and who hasn’t yet weighed in on certain topics.

“My concern with any study like this is we end up with wrong information and take wrong strategies because of the people who are the most willing to respond,” Rubin said.