New DeKalb city leaders sworn in, approves parking ordinance


Kierra Frazier

DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes at the May 10 City Council meeting.

By Kierra Frazier

DeKALB – Mayor Cohen Barnes was sworn into office Monday to begin his term as mayor with hopes of working with council members to continue the “momentum” within the city.

“I really look forward to working with this team, this council in order to continue the momentum that we have going on in DeKalb to make sure that we realize the beauty, the wonder and – what I believe – the greatness that this community has, and I will during my four years, always compassionately be proud of DeKalb,” Barnes said. 

Barnes, along with Second Ward Alderperson Barb Larson and City Clerk Sasha Cohen, were all sworn in as new city leaders at Monday’s City Council meeting. Fourth Ward Alderperson Greg Perkins and Sixth Ward Alderperson Mike Verbic were also sworn in for an additional term. 

“I’m excited to be here and excited to be part of this team and hope we can live up to Jerry’s ‘keep it moving for another four years,’” Larson said. 

Cohen also thanked DeKalb residents at the meeting who voted for him in the April consolidated election and said he hopes he’ll be able to fulfill the city clerk position successfully for the next four years.

Former Mayor Jerry Smith also thanked DeKalb residents for a “great four-year run.” 

“I said to this City Council, over the last couple of years especially, we are on a roll,” Smith said. “We have great momentum for us, and with this body, I think we can continue that momentum.” 

Barb Boulevard parking changes

Council members unanimously approved an ordinance at Monday’s meeting that establishes resident-only street parking on Barb Boulevard near Huntley Middle School, 1515 S. Fourth St. 

Under the ordinance, a loading zone allowing up to three vehicles simultaneously, each for ten minutes, will be added on the south side, according to the May 10 City Council agenda. The loading zone will help sports teams and people with disabilities attending events at the middle school.

Additionally, the ordinance allows for resident-only street parking without the need for registering each vehicle, as is the case with neighborhoods where the Safe Streets initiative applies, according to the agenda

Parking on the north side of Barb Boulevard between S. First and S. Second Streets is restricted to residents and their guests.

All vehicles parked on the north side of Barb Boulevard must display city-issued parking tags, or the vehicle could be towed. The parking tags will be free and issued by the Public Works Department and will be mailed annually to residents whose properties face the north side of Barb Boulevard.  

The City Council voted unanimously in favor of the first reading of the proposed changes during the April 26 council meeting.

Several residents who live on Barb Boulevard spoke in favor of the ordinance, including Mike Tritle and Tom Riley. 

“I want to thank everybody that’s been involved with putting this together and everybody that will be involved in the enforcement,” Riley said.