Urban life inches closer to DeKalb

By Aaron Wiens

As the urban environment creeps closer, several DeKalb residents find themselves under siege with proposals for new development.

Increased truck traffic was the major concern of about 50 residents of unincorporated DeKalb County who attended a private meeting hosted by the developer of a proposed 6.1 million square foot business park.

The DeKalb Logistics Center will be about five times larger than the new Target distribution center and may take up to 15 years to reach full occupancy, said Gerard Keating of Keating Resources, based in Geneva. Once completed, it may generate more than $3.3 million per year in property taxes and employ between 500 and 2,000 people.

The 343-acre business park will be bordered by Route 23 on the west, Crego Road on the east, Interstate 88 on the north and Gurler Road on the south.

The group of residents did not agree with the developer’s assessment on which route the business park’s truck traffic would take.

A traffic study completed for the project predicted the majority of the 2,500 semitrailers would travel on Gurler Road east toward Peace Road and onto the interstate.

“We expect the majority of truck traffic to use I-88,” said Tim Sjogren of Metro Transportation Group, hired by Keating to complete the traffic study.

Residents pointed out many of the problems that exist with trucks because they do not want to pay the $9 toll to get onto the interstate system. Instead, they often take local roads to the freeways.

Robert and Penny Becker own a home across Route 23 they have been trying to sell but since the planned development was announced prospective buyers are no longer interested.

With the number of trucks going in and out of that development drivers will not even have space for a Volkswagen on the roads, Robert Becker said.

To help alleviate truck traffic problems, DeKalb is looking into turning Fairview Drive into a truck route between First Street and Annie Glidden Road.

“We estimate the costs for the reconstruction of that section of road to be about $3 million,” said Joel Maurer, DeKalb city engineer.

“I just want to know what they are going to do to protect the kids when all those trucks come rumbling by,” said James Ebenroth, a DeKalb resident, when watching his son practice soccer at the park.

Discussions about the proposed development and rerouting the truck route will be held at the next city council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.