InFocus: How should DeKalb TIF district funds be spent?

By Northern Star staff

Abby Zaccaria, columnist

DeKalb can use TIF funds to improve areas of the city that are in need of maintenance. The TIF funds will expire in 2018 if DeKalb doesn’t use them for something.

The DeKalb city council has been debating on what project the city should dedicate these funds to. There are many projects that are in need of funding such as maintaining the roads and renovating important buildings like the municipal building and the Egyptian Theatre. DeKalb should use the TIF funds to renovate the municipal building.

According to the Daily Chronicle, when the city council reviewed the municipal building to see what renovations it needed, they found many deficiencies, including mold, broken stairs that were not wheelchair accessible and parts of the building that needed to be redesigned.

If these problems are not addressed, the building may have to be closed down. This 50-year-old building should be preserved.

Angela Pagan, columnist

I think downtown DeKalb should spend its TIF money on repairing and restoring old buildings like the Egyptian Theatre.

Coming from a bigger city like Chicago, I think one of the coolest and most interesting things about a smaller rural town like DeKalb is that it still has old buildings like the theatre. The Egyptian even does shows most would not find at any regular theatre.

During certain weekends the Egyptian Theatre plays the Rocky Horror Picture Show; this is an old classic and a fun thing to experience for pretty much anyone.

Little shops and old buildings are a unique aspect of living in DeKalb and they offer a great way to have a simple daily adventure. Not many old style theatres like the Egyptian still exist and I think it’s important to preserve these little bits of the past.

Overall, I feel that unique attractions like the Egyptian Theatre help DeKalb stand out as a community and not just the town where NIU is located.

Keith Hernandez, Editor in Chief

While I can understand the importance of maintaining roads and other basic infrastructure, TIF money going towards such things is a short-term fix to a long-term problem.

What is more important than fixing downtown streets is buying all of the empty lots to either renovate them or sell them cheap to businesses looking for opportunity. That’s where the long-term cash flow is.

Also, from the handful of times I’ve gone out to the downtown area, I’ve noticed the place needs something new; something other than a few bars and restaurants. Personally, I would like to see more music venues and activity-oriented businesses.

I bet DeKalb residents wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of an indoor ice skating rink. Although expensive, I think a place like that would be extremely popular and can bring in people from all over DeKalb and neighboring counties.

The possibilities are endless.