Trolleys may provide new transportation

By Jessica Kalin

DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow is looking to enhance the growing downtown DeKalb area by adding a new source of transportation – trolleys.

Sparrow said he hopes to expand businesses and attract customers to the downtown district without battling the parking expense.

“The trolley cars would provide transportation around the downtown area and allow shoppers to leave their car in a central location,” Sparrow said. “These would put the traffic into downtown without the parking problem.”

A drop-off location is being looked at across from the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St. As the DeKalb area grows, Sparrow said, the trolleys take on a more positive appeal, venturing over to business on Sycamore Road.

Sparrow is looking at a window of six years to implement the plan. However, city officials still are discussing the idea.

“Other bigger cities have trolleys,” Sparrow said. “To me, you want quaint novelties; the motorized cars have that appeal.”

Although Sparrow has not checked into the actual cost of the trolley cars, he said the city of DeKalb has the money to buy the cars and would buy two or three cars in a year and add another three in the following year.

Sparrow said if the plan is successful, he hopes to find volunteers to operate the cars.

“Nothing is written in stone, and it needs to be discussed further,” Sparrow said.

Kim Kubiak, executive director for DeKalb’s Chamber of Commerce, said Sparrow has mentioned the idea. DeKalb’s Metropolitan Planning Organization currently is doing a study on transportation to see if the trolleys are necessary.