TIF Ward Meetings

Background

The City of DeKalb (City) currently has two Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts that will expire in the coming years. Geographically the two TIF Districts incorporate a large portion of the City’s older residential neighborhoods. Recognizing that the housing market in DeKalb has not recovered to pre-recession levels, the City has begun to investigate programs and strategies for raising home values and stabilizing neighborhoods. A first step in this process was to engage residents living within or near the boundary of the TIF Districts, with the purpose of discussing how the remaining TIF funds could be used to partner with residents to reinvest into their properties.

Three public meetings were held at City Hall between September 27, 2016 and October 3, 2016. Each meeting was hosted by the respective Alderperson for the ward being discussed that evening. During each meeting, a Power Point was presented by Community Development staff. Each presentation can be found at one of the following links:

Ward 3 TIF Presentation 

Ward 4 TIF Presentation

Ward 5 TIF Presentation

Following the presentation, an open discussion was held between staff and those who attended. Comments made by the community were written down by staff. The following are the comments that were recorded during those meetings: 

Ward 4 – September 27, 2016 (Hosted by Alderman Snow)

  • Window program to incentivize replacement of old windows with energy efficient ones
  • Foundation Work - A major barrier to investing in an older home could be needed repairs to the foundation.
  • Stone gutters in the Huntley Park Historic Neighborhood need to be repaired or lowered
  • Clean-Up Day - Offer once-a-year trash pick-up or recycling for large items or appliances
  • Some homes have overgrown yards that need to be maintained
  • Improved Street Lighting
  • Parkway Trees – replace or add new
  • Sidewalks – repair cracked or raised slabs where needed
  • Plant fruiting trees throughout the community for public consumption
  • Street Signs – Decorative/Historic signage in Huntly Park, larger more readable signs in other areas
  • Storm Drainage Issues – not draining in areas, causing basements to flood in large rain events
  • Street sweeping – increase services and frequency
  • Fences – Repair deteriorated fences
  • Repair illegal sanitary connections
  • Repave 6th Street
  • Commercial water services (north side of 2nd & 3rd)
  • Lead Paint Abatement Program

Ward 5 – September 29, 2016 (Hosted by Alderwoman Noreiko)

  • Incentivize conversion of multi-family residential to single-family residential (2011 proposal)
  • More Pond-Fisk type developments
  • “Last Mile” fiber program to raise values, access to technology
  • Tree Planting Program
  • Recruit Jobs – Living wage careers, not just retail
  • Build a sense of community
    • Build quality of life
    • “People buy neighborhoods”
    • “Meet with homeowners that are concerned the City will take their homes and they will lose investment.”
    • Renovate Historic Neighborhoods
    • Catalog and match volunteers to rehab needs
    • United Way 211 Plan
    • Downtown Renovations are incomplete – restore crosswalks (this has been completed since meetings took place)
    • Gateway treatment for 4th Street
    • Code Enforcement needed
    • Investment in underground infrastructure
    • Talk to DARA
    • Sidewalk Improvements – increase walkability
    • Improved lighting through Ellwood Neighborhood
    • Historic District signage in Ellwood
    • Ensure walkability in Shodeen area – similar to boulevards in Europe
    • Bike path under Lincoln Highway underpass at river
    • Work with Habitat for Humanity
    • Increase attractiveness of South 4th St.
    • Retail recruitment ideas
      • Hobby store
      • Entertainment
      • REI/Eddie Bauer
      • Yarn Shop
      • Joanne Fabrics
      • Furniture
      • Fineline Quality Classes
      • Flea Market
      • Music Instrument sales and repair
      • Live Music
      • Valli Produce / Ethnic market
      • Vegetarian options (e.g. Sweet Tomatoes)
      • More mixed-use developments
      • ATV storage
      • Organic food
      • Brew Pub
      • Cake decorating supplies
      • Quality clothing
      • High-end gift stores
      • Nature spots
      • Move Fanatico’s downtown
      • Annual contest for ethnic restaurants
      • Sponsor first-year rent for new retail
      • Year-round Farmer’s Market
      • Old-fashioned bakery

Ward 3 – October 3, 2016 (Hosted by Alderman Marquardt)

  • Certified renter program – improve quality of tenants
  • “Need better jobs to help renters become owners.”
  • Improve walkability and bike-ability through town
  • “Owners not reinvesting because they can still rent under current conditions.”
  • Use TIF for job training programs – loss of construction jobs and skilled workforce
  • Conduct survey at time of occupancy permit
  • Conduct cost/benefit for structural issues – sometimes better to demo than reinvest
  • “NIU professors not living in DeKalb.”
  • “Are we striving to be another suburb?”
  • Incubator space in the downtown
  • Maintenance of the downtown streetscape – major investment in the past
  • Don’t disregard improvements needed on Sycamore Road
  • Need better advertising for existing and future programs
  • Incentivize existing businesses to expand – grow your own vs. recruit new competition
  • More Pond-Fisk type development
  • Incentivize owners to demo and market land
  • Always ask, “Will this leverage more investment?”

Attendance

The following people attended one or more (*) of the TIF Ward Meetings:

       
 Ron Naylor  K & M Larson  Lisa Sharp  Andrea Gorla
 Dwayne Brown  Dave Kolars*  Heath Johnson*  Nathan Dettman*
 Bessie Chronopoulos*  Trixy O'Flaherty  Pam Verbic*  Mac McIntyre
 Keith Nyquist  Steve Kapitan*  Misty Haji-Sheikh  Michael Haji-Sheikh
 Amanda Durik  David Castro  Larry Apperson  Delores Yerly
 Patricia Perkins  Kurt Thurmaier  Diane DeMers  Kathy Blair
 Jerry Evans Maureen Gerrity Bill Feldman  Cynthia deSeife

Next Steps

As the City prepares a revised Development Plan for the remaining years of the two TIF Districts, the comments made during these meetings will be considered. The Development Plan will include allocating funds for investment into public infrastructure as part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The plan will also identify specific projects and redevelopment opportunities that would move towards creating a stronger sense of community, and also improve quality of life for residents. Additionally, the City is also looking to revise its existing Economic Development Incentive Policy. As part of the new policy, programs will be identified that would partner with existing residents, developers, and investors to create clusters of reinvestment, similar to the Pond-Fisk area that was mentioned multiple times throughout meetings. A new incentive policy will be presented in the early part of 2017, and a revised Development Plan will be presented in late 2017.