Sycamore City Council approves purchase for longtime leased NIU property


Zohair Khan

Sycamore City Council approved the purchase of properties located at 474 N. Cross St. and part of lot 1002 on N. Cross St.

DeKALB — The city of Sycamore recently purchased two lots of NIU land that they’d been leasing since 1998. The properties are located at 474 N. Cross St. and part of lot 1002 on N. Cross St.

The NIU Board of Trustees voted in September 2019 and decided that it was officially time for the land to be sold, thus following through with selling the land to the city of Sycamore. 

“Located on N. Cross St. immediately south of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, the property was originally part of 34-acre site for the College of Engineering, which eventually moved to the main campus in 1995 with the construction of the Engineering building,” according to a Sept. 9, 2019 Board of Trustees report

In a meeting on April 4, the Sycamore City Council voted 8-0 to officially purchase the two properties for $151,541. 

“Approximately 11 acres of land located near the City of Sycamore’s wastewater treatment plant is considered surplus to the university mission requirements,” the report reads. 

Sycamore City Manager Michael Hall said that the land will continue to be very useful to the city of Sycamore.

“It already houses our sewer treatment plant and we started using it for that purpose not long ago,” Hall said.

NIU sold the properties for financial purposes and due to the 2019 signing of the House Bill 0359 by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, which allows higher education institutions to keep the money instead of the state after they claim their owned property as surplus.  

“My understanding is that NIU was able to sell it and then keep the money because of a state law,” Hall said. “That law had changed recently so now that they sell the land it stays with NIU.”

The land will benefit the City of Sycamore in many ways. 

“Owning the land will benefit us financially and help us save a lot of money,” Hall said.