Council passes special-use permit for parking lot, firefighters honored


Patrick Murphy | Northern Star

First Ward Alderperson Carolyn Morris reads a letter out loud during DeKalb’s City Council meeting on Monday, July 13th.

By Kierra Frazier

DeKALB – An ordinance to establish a 20-space parking lot at 1030 E. Locust St. passed on second reading at Monday’s City Council meeting following pushback from residents at previous meetings

Nehring Electrical Works Co., 813 E. Locust St., requested a special-use permit to establish the 20-space parking lot. The company’s building is 300 feet from the requested lot and needs the extra space due to company growth.

DeKalb residents were initially concerned about multiple semi-trucks visiting the lot by a nearby park and noise occurring in the middle of the night. But at Monday’s meeting, one resident said he now supports the ordinance. 

“If everyone follows the rules and there are no trucks in that parking lot, I have no problem with it,” DeKalb resident James Gibson said. 

Over the past month, since the council passed the ordinance on first reading, the city’s building department and police department have monitored truck traffic on E. Locust between N. 8th St. and N. 11th St. 

The city found several inefficiencies of the loading and unloading processes where trucks sit in the street that they plan to address in the future. The city plans to convert E. Locust St. between 10th and 7th Streets to a one-way, or make E. Locust St. a one-way and create diagonal parking spaces on the south side of the street. 

“It’s a great thing for Nehring, and they’re trying to keep up with their orders and continue to be a viable business where they’re at and it has created a lot of issues for the neighborhood in the area, and so our interest is trying to work with them,” Chief Building Official Dawn Harper said. 

Fourth Ward Alderperson Greg Perkins said he hopes momentum in the conversation around the ordinance won’t disappear so improvements can be made to E. Locust St. 

“Thanks for all the work you’re putting in, I realize there’s quite a bit that’s gone into it, and it’s great to hear the input from the neighbors that are involved in the process as well,” Perkins said. 

Firefighters honored

DeKalb firefighters, paramedics and an NIU police officer were honored at Monday’s City Council meeting for their rescue efforts during the Feb. 12 apartment fire involving two NIU alumni. 

NIU police officer Matt Lave and DeKalb firefighter and paramedics Jared Thorpe and Adam Miller were recognized at the meeting for entering the apartment to save a second victim still inside. 

“Matt, Jared and Adam bravely put their lives on the line, without hesitation, and [are deserving of] our heartfelt gratitude and recognition,” City Manager Bill Nicklas said. 

Nicklas also recognized the 911 operators who worked that morning as well as other firefighters, paramedics and officers at the meeting.  

“I can be so proud of our police department, our fire department, and in this case, the collaborative spirit between NIU and our departments,” Mayor Jerry Smith said.