Bold Ideas don’t sit well with all


Two joggers run through Greek Row on Hillcrest Road in front of Phi Kappa Theta Tuesday. Some residents are displeased with proposed ideas for changing neighborhoods like Hillcrest as part of NIU’s Bold Ideas.

By Alissa Jacob

Some homeowners in the Ellwood Historic and Hillcrest neighborhoods are upset they were not included in the Bold Ideas Master Plan for the future of NIU.

A meeting was held April 6 at the Ellwood House Visitor Center, 509 N. First St., to inform the neighborhoods about Bold Ideas, to talk about the effect the plans will have on the residents and ways the neighborhoods can help with the plan.

Misty Haji-Sheikh, Ellwood Historic neighborhood resident, DeKalb County board member and one of the organizers of the meeting, said she held the meeting to help the citizens understand what the Bold Ideas Master Plan intends, since she thinks information given to the public has been vague.

Bold Ideas Plan

According to a newsletter sent out to the neighborhoods of Ellwood Historic and Hillcrest, some changes for the plan include making the Locust or College Avenue entrance to NIU the primary entrance, with traffic entering from Locust Street through the center of the Ellwood Historic District.

Also proposed is the creation of a trolley or electric bus from NIU or Downtown via Locust or College Avenue, as well as the creation of a residential neighborhood south of the Fox Hollow neighborhood on what is now the North 40 field.

Local Reaction

Diane DeMers, a resident of the Ellwood Historic neighborhood, said she was very upset local neighborhoods were not included in the Bold Ideas plan. She said many families are invested in and care about NIU and DeKalb.

“We really feel we would like to be a part of and kept up to date with the plans,” DeMers said.

Haji-Sheikh said those who attended the meeting voiced concerns about traffic emerging, development on a floodplain, a question of emergency response viability after the plans are implemented, noise, parking problems and repainting the historic character of the Ellwood Historic District.

“I am pleased to see excitement and people cooperating. About 120 people showed up,” Haji-Sheikh said. “I am looking forward to working with residents, property owners, homeowners and NIU by holding these meetings to present ideas from each side so we can work together to make those ideas something that everyone will be happy with … .”

DeKalb resident Barbara North said the idea of the meeting was to have promised communication and involvement of the community. She said she benefits from living on Normal Road since she uses the Music Building for concerts and she loves the school atmosphere.

“If they close Normal Road, it would block my driveway. There are problems with preserving DeKalb from one side to another,” North said. “We are extremely surprised to see the scope of what is being planned, and many of us would like to have been in the question and answer part of the development.”