DeKalb makes a few deals

By Michael Swiontek

The DeKalb City Council meeting Monday night dealt with diverse issues affecting many subgroups within the community, including homeowners, students and the local work force.

When the discussion of impact fees became too lengthy and reached the hour mark, Van Buer tried to curtail the discussion saying, “I think we have said enough.” (Editors Note: See accompanying article for more information.)

Moving on, the council unanimously passed a motion authorizing an engineering agreement with Hanson Professional Services for the East Lincoln Highway Beautification Project. The project will cost the city $52,504. An abandoned lot between Second and Third Streets could potentially house a park.

“We could see some striking changes to the east side of town,” said 4th Ward council member Donna Gorski.

Next, a development agreement was established with developer BGR DeKalb that offers tax abatements and financial assistance for the Peace Road Corporate Center. The center would house a distribution center for a currently local company.

The previously secret “Project Oak” was revealed as DeKalb’s own office supply company, 3M. The new facility would create 50 new jobs with an average annual salary of $30,000. Construction will begin immediately with an aggressive schedule to meet its targeted Jan. 2007 opening date.

“This will cement 3M in the community,” said Roger Hopkins, executive director of DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation.

In reference to transportation growth, a resolution was passed to improve the DeKalb Municipal Airport.

DeKalb is getting closer to being able to accommodate corporate jets landing at the airport, which could attract a number of companies to the area, said 6th Ward Alderman Dave Baker.

Discussion then turned to the lack of awareness of the city’s first-time home buyer aid program, which has led to its diminished use. Fewer people are taking advantage of the program despite more advertising, said Assistant City Manager Linda Wiggins.

Baker proposed the DeKalb Channel 14 advertisement to refer potential applicants to the city of DeKalb Web site for more information to help with promoting the program.

A special workshop meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Dec. 6. The council will discuss the proposed and hotly-debated DeKalb Business Center south of Interstate-88.