City council curbs Greek Row budget

By Casey Toner

DeKalb will spend less than half of what it had planned for the Greek Row Revitalization Project that aims to improve the image of the northwest DeKalb neighborhood.

Monday night, the city council voted to cut $100,000 from the original $175,000 budget.

The money cut from the project instead will go toward the sidewalk replacement project that will satisfy the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project first will replace sidewalks west of First Street, said Community Services Planner Sue Guio.

Guio said that in light of the reduction, she plans to meet with the Student Association to look into redirecting student fees to planned Greek Row bus shelters.

She said she wants to build kiosk-like bus shelters with heated floors.

“It would have been nice having the shelters for fall, but that won’t happen,” Guio said, adding she now hopes to see the shelters ordered and installed by spring 2005.

Guio said they will seek approval for reimbursement from the city in May and that the budget reduction will not affect current construction plans.

DeKalb saved $24,000 earlier this year on Greek Row street lights, overestimated at a cost of $40,000. The bill came out to only $16,000.

“We’re not abandoning [the Greek community]. We’re just making sure we have the money to spend,” Guio said.

Earlier in the city council meeting, Jennifer Groce, executive director of Main Street DeKalb, asked that the city abandon the Special Service Area plan on behalf of downtown businesses. Groce said the taxes needed to weed the sidewalks and clear them of debris would punish the merchants.

In the plan, the city would split the cost with downtown merchants for the city to hire someone to clean the streets for $60,000 per year.

The city council will decide July 17 whether to enact the special taxing district.