City Council approves plans for new DeKalb subdivision

By Rich Bruen

DeKalb residents soon will get to look at a new subdivision where only rubble and decay stand today.

At the DeKalb City Council meeting on Monday, the council gave final approval to a bid of $60,000 from DeKalb contractor Steve Irving for the redevelopment of 2.84 acres of triangular land located on DeKalb Avenue, Pond and Fisk streets in central DeKalb.

Lynda Boyer, DeKalb economic development director, said part of the $60,000 deal includes waiving permit fees, water and sewer connections, replotting property boundaries and public sidewalk repairs.

“We’ll end up grossing about $30,000,” she said.

Steve Irving, who has been in business in the area for 18 years, has previously contracted the Fairway/Greenwood Acres expansion, the Golf Villas subdivision on Bethany Road and various other local projects.

“I’m really excited about it,” Irving said. “I’ve been planning this for two years. It will be good to get going.”

The 14 new two-story homes will have three bedrooms, attached garages and will sell in the $76,000 to $85,000 range, he said.

He said full-scale construction is set to begin in late February and the project could be completed as early as next fall.

According to Boyer, the city has about $1.5 million invested in the acquisition and destruction of 16 structures which were located on the property and in the relocation of their occupants.

Pam Blickem, economic development specialist, said the process of improving the area began in January 1990.

“We gave property owners three choices,” she said. “They could either take out a low-interest loan to rehabilitate their property, sell it to the city or do nothing.”

All of the structures in the designated area were torn down, she said.

“Ultimately, we decided that it would be better to raze the buildings than to rehabilitate them,” said Sue Guio, administrative secretary of economic development. “It wouldn’t have cost any more to build new buildings as opposed to razing them.”

The original DeKalb, Pond, Fisk neighborhood was built by DeKalb resident Jacob Haish during the early 1900s as housing for working-class people, said DeKalb historian Steve Bigolin.

“Most of the structures in the neighborhood dated from 1904 to about 1915,” he said.