Chamber of commerce discusses greek row safety issues, success of Re:New DeKalb and Egyption Theater renovation plans

By Jason Pfrommer

DeKALB | Members at a meeting of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Tuesday addressed economic and aesthetic improvements to the city and safety concerns.


Overgrown trees blocking street lights could be causing a safety risk for pedestrians in DeKalb.

T.J. Moore, director of Public Works, said there are many trees that are overgrown and causing many street lights not to reach the sidewalk areas making the streets seem unsafe for pedestrians and residents.

Safety was a main topic of the meeting.

Another safety topic was the need for renewal of Greek Row.

Mayor Kris Povlsen said that hundreds of hours had been spent deciding how to tackle the issue of public safety.

Povlsen said that a housing task force is in the works. Ideally this would mean that there would be an officer living in the area to become part of the neighborhood. There was also talk of wanting to install cameras in the area for added security.

Re:New DeKalb

Aesthetic improvements to DeKalb’s downtown area are proceeding ahead of schedule and under budget as of Re:New DeKalb’s agenda through June 14, said Frank Roberts, president of the project.

Moore said that Re:New DeKalb had been a great success so far after repaving 260 lane miles throughout the city and planting over 6,000 parkway trees and over 100 trees along Lincoln Highway.

The initiative, however, is nowhere near finished.

“We really believe our work is just beginning,” Roberts said.

There are plans to repaint DeKalb’s water tower located at the 1100 block of Oak Street sometime this year.

Egyptian Renovation

There are plans to restore the Egyptian Theater, 135 N. Second St., Renovations included redoing the plaster work, new seats, a new sound system and a plan to add air conditioning by 2012.

Roberts said the estimated cost would be nearly $75,000 but this would be money well-spent because it would draw people downtown.

“When the Egyptian is busy, downtown is busy,” Roberts said.

Downtown Business

Povlsen said that there were barely any store fronts available in downtown DeKalb, which means that businesses are doing well and very few have had to relocate, downsize or close all together.

“We see ourselves being back into very good fiscal health,” said City Manager Mark Biernacki.

Povlsen said there was only so much the city government could do when it comes to all the changes that have to take place and that is up to the citizens.

“Get involved in the community,” Povlsen said. “It’s our community, it’s not the government’s community.”