Annie Glidden North Revitalization plan moves forward with early action project


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

By Jessie Kern

Moving forward with the Annie Glidden North Revitalization effort, community members contributed their interpretation of what the area’s vision should be as a result of the different renovation projects.

The overarching goal of the Annie Glidden North Revitalization plan is to improve the quality of life for all residents in the area by implementing different changes developed based on community member concerns. A second community meeting was held Thursday evening at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 830 N. Annie Glidden Road.

As established at the first community meeting Sept. 27, the Annie Glidden North Revitalization plan is looking into early action projects. These projects are low-cost and will act as stepping stones toward improving the community.

“The purpose of these [early action projects] is to build positive momentum, start to bring people together to improve the neighborhood and to get people involved so they want to be moving the overall plan forward,” said Adam Rosa, representative of Camiros, a planning firm focused on neighborhood improvement.

Attendees voted on which early action project they felt should be pursued first.

Those options included creating an information or help kiosk, enacting a neighborhood cleanup, hosting a block party, have a lighting assessment for streets and walking paths, neighborhood branding, creating a farmers market located in the Annie Glidden north area or holding events at Welsh Park, 651 Russell Road, to refocus it as a community space.

After receiving 30 votes, it was decided that a lighting assessment will take priority. As brought forth in the first community meeting, a big concern among community members was the lack of lighting on streets. As of the past week, ComEd has began repairing streetlights. Tree trimming has also been completed at Greenbrier Road from Normal Road to Hillcrest Drive and John Street/College Avenue to improve lighting.

The revitalization plan is a quarter of the way complete. The Thursday evening meeting was part of the “Visioning for the Future” step, which looked into five specific areas of the Annie Glidden North quadrant and the changes community members hope to see once the revitalization effort is completed.

During the meeting, residents broke off into groups, studied targeted areas and produced suggestions for different options of revitalizing their respective areas.

“I appreciate that they’re actually listening to us as a whole and taking in all of our different thought processes with the exercise,” said senior marketing major Madeline Alger. “Just the three tables that presented had all varying ideas, so I’m excited to see what they tally it up to be.”

As part of the neighborhood branding effort, community members were able to write in their idea for renaming the Annie Glidden North area. Community members proposed names such as Glidden Glen, University Townlet and Annie Glidden Fields.

Though the community meeting was intended to address projects involved in the Annie Glidden North Revitalization plan, recent events involving crime and safety concerns shifted the discussion. Representatives of the DeKalb Police Department provided community members with an update of the efforts being made to address recent safety concerns tied to the spike in gun violence.

“What you’ll see out there is you’ll see state troopers and other outside agencies that are helping us focus on these problem areas where some of these critical incidents have happened,” Deputy Chief John Petragallo said.

Three units from the DeKalb Police Department were highlighted in terms of the efforts going toward addressing safety concerns, including the Community Policing Unit, the Targeted Response Unit and the Problem-Oriented Response Initiative.

“Safety and crime is a topic of the Annie Glidden Revitalization plan, but it is only one of the topics,” Rosa said. “We know that crime is like a symptom of some underlying issues, and we hope that this planning effort helps address those issues.”