Mayoral to-do list


Focus on police station improvements: DeKalb’s police station needs improvement. It isn’t possible in the current economic climate, but the existing station must either be remodeled or relocated in order for the police officers to properly serve DeKalb. When the council begins to look at new plans, it is imperative that they take public input into consideration and spend the city’s money responsibly, which may include seeking federal or state assistance.

Strengthen relations between NIU and the city: Form an NIU student commission and improve relations among DeKalb and the University Police. The city has put its faith in Povlsen as an elected mayor, and his idea of forming an NIU student commission will improve the relationship between the city and the campus. The commission could meet once a month and talk about issues the students are having with the city and ways to address the problems. Only 21 students from the four university precincts voted in Tuesday’s election. The student commission could help increase those numbers. In addition, the dynamic between University Police and DeKalb Police should be strengthened so both resident and student safety is prioritized.

Redefine Re:New DeKalb’s mission: The late Mayor Frank Van Buer had a vision for DeKalb to undergo improvements to help make the downtown area more desirable for businesses and residents. While Re:New DeKalb is still a worthwhile campaign, its aims need to be re-evaluated so the city still receives the most benefit. Povlsen should address the community with his goals for Re:New DeKalb so the residents and the administration are unified in their goals for the city.

Develop reasons for students to stay on campus for the weekends: There must be more done to retain students on weekends. Povlsen should try to create more options for students who aren’t yet 21 and still want things to do on the weekend. While it may seem silly, more retention of students on the weekend means better things for the community. More student options for activities will lead to more constructive use of time rather than dabbling in nefarious acts. The only way to erase NIU’s image as a suitcase college is to increase student participation within the city. Something such as outdoor dining in downtown serves as a perfect example of things that can integrate the university’s students and the city effectively.

Lay the groundwork for a Metra station in DeKalb: Although it may not be realistic for a Metra train to be running through DeKalb by the end of his term, Povlsen should begin to lay the groundwork for a station to be implemented in the future. Soon, all major towns will be connected by rails, and DeKalb should be no exception. The bus routes to the Elburn train station sell out every weekend, so the demand is already evident. A station in the downtown area would give residents the opportunity to live in DeKalb but commute closer to Chicago for work. It would give more people the incentive to visit our city and help turn it into a desirable destination.

Improve the city’s environmental outlook: The mayor’s office should use the technology available to its advantage. E-mails should replace printed documents whenever possible, and the office should encourage citywide compliance with recycling guidelines. The mayor also should encourage the development of the oft-debated wind farm in the county. We suggest Povlsen reach out to other communities in the county that might be skeptical of the plan and promote its advantages.

Bring Corn Fest back to the urban center of the city: Though it may seem like a petty goal, Povlsen should work to bring Corn Fest back to an area where the most people can participate. It’s a great way to build a strong relationship between students returning to campus and permanent residents. The celebration benefits residents and local businesses, and it deserves a place in the town’s center. Povlsen should make Corn Fest’s transition back to the downtown area a priority if he wants to see the festival flourish once more.