Task force asks for support

By Tyler Vincent

The Greek Row Task Force, which has held a series of meetings over the course of a few months to discuss the current condition of the Greek Row neighborhood, is now asking the public for input.

The Task Force will begin distributing approximately 2,800 neighborhood surveys to all fraternities, sororities and area residents designed to allow residents to inform the task force about safety concerns and give a better idea of such things as the level of police presence in Greek Row and lighting in the area.

Half of the surveys will be distributed to the fraternities and sororities while the other half will be devoted to area apartments and residential home owners.

The surveys could be hitting the streets as soon as this week.

“It’s done and it’s ready to get out,” said Student Association Director of Greek Affairs Mike Evans. “And it should be out within the next couple of weeks.”

The Greek Row neighborhood is bordered along the west via Annie Glidden Road; east by Normal Road and encompasses streets such as Greenbrier Road, Hillcrest Drive, Kimberly Drive and Blackhawk Drive.

The distribution of surveys to the neighborhood follows the blueprint used by the City of DeKalb in the Pleasant Street Revitalization project.

“We have an idea of what’s wrong in the neighborhood, but the residents have a better idea of what’s going on than we do,” said Community Planning Director Paul Rasmussen. “We’re trying to find out what the needs of the residents are.”

Some of the questions raised in the survey include whether the resident has ever been the victim of an illegal act in the neighborhood, what businesses would the residents like to see in the neighborhood and what the resident’s recommendations would be in order to enhance the perception of safety in the neighborhood.

Rasmussen noted that the surveys would not be translated into Spanish.

“With the Pleasant Street survey, we got no responses from residents,” said Community Service Planner Sue Guio, referring to the amount of responses from Pleasant Street’s residents who did not have English as a primary language.

Guio said that the needs of these residents were determined via meetings in area churches. Plans are in the works for similar meetings in Greek Row.

While there is no technical ‘due date’ for the surveys’ completion, the task force hopes that the surveys will be received in a month’s time.

The scope of getting community concerns will not end with the survey, according to Guio.

“We’re going to be doing focus groups, and also working with the frats and sororities in the hopes that their presidents will encourage their members to fill out the surveys,” Guio said.

First Ward Ald. Andy Small said he intends to help form a 10 to 15 member committee to go over the surveys and identify the concerns of the community.

Small added that some members from the fraternities and sorority houses have already volunteered for the position, and that the task force was still looking for representatives from area churches, businesses and homeowners to potentially serve on the committee.

“Some people will already be entitled to be on the committee due to their position,” Small said, adding that those who are entitled include representation from community planning, police, and code enforcement.

“It’s all-encompassing,” Small said regarding the survey. “We’re not trying to be specific. We’re trying to be all-encompassing.”