Corn Fest discussed in City Council meeting


City Council

By Ali Combs

The City Council passed a resolution Monday night that will enable Corn Fest to be held in downtown DeKalb this year.

The Council moved to close Lincoln Highway between First Street and Fourth Street from Aug. 29 through Sept. 1 to allow Corn Fest to operate. This will move the festival from the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport, 3232 Pleasant St., where it has taken place for the last five years, back to the downtown area, where it took place before moving to the airport. Some concern was raised by sixth ward alderman David Baker about the presence of Corn Fest and the sales taxes they pay.

“I think I’ve hit every Corn Fest since it started in the ’70s, so I consider myself knowledgeable about it from a consumer perspective and from the city,” Baker said. “Corn Fest is supposed to highlight local businesses and our downtown…I do not want outside vendors.”

After some debate, the resolution was unanimously approved. A resolution allowing the use of TIF funds to replace the neon sign over Debutantes School of Cosmetology, 145 N. Third St., was also passed by the Council. The agreement said the sign will be replaced with a replica of the original and is to be maintained by Debutante’s Real Estate for the next five years. A question of the allocation of TIF funds was raised.

“TIF funds are set up to cure blight within the community,” said first ward alderman David Jacobson. “This sign is going to increase the value of the property without any investment on the part of the property owner.”

Five Council members voted to pass the resolution while Jacobson dissented.

The Council also moved to amend the municipal code regarding impounding vehicles used in committing a felony act. The amendment would extend the maximum wait for a hearing from 45 days to 90 days.

“What I’m concerned about is the person who doesn’t have the money to get their car out of impound and is putting all their hope into the hearing,” said third ward alderman Kristen Lash. “They may be stuck with the storage fees from a longer period of time.”

DeKalb city attorney Dean Frieders said in almost all cases since the policy was established in November, individuals have retrieved their vehicles from impound long before the hearing date and only those proven guilty are required to pay storage fees. The Council unanimously moved to pass the amendment.

The city of DeKalb will be entering into an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network (IPWMAN) following a vote at the City Council meeting. IPWMAN is a network of cities throughout Illinois that pay a small fee to set up a legal structure allowing its members to provide and receive aid to other members in the event of a disaster.

The Council also moved to place the DeKalb Area Women’s Center, 1021 State St., onto the DeKalb Landmark Register due to its historic relevance as the old Finn Hall.