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Apr 03

April 3, 2020 COVID-19 Update from the Mayor

Posted on April 3, 2020 at 11:22 AM by Jason Blumenthal

            We’re all trying to adapt, that’s for sure.  Heck, most of us never heard of coronavirus until earlier this year.  Now, it’s undoubtedly the most-often-uttered word around the globe.

            Here in DeKalb, our very way of life has been altered big time.  As the Mayor of this fine community, I can certainly attest to how my routine has changed.

            Let me count the ways…

            Even though I try to drop by City Hall every other day or so, to pick up mail and sign whatever documents may need a signature, it’s pretty much Stay at Home.  I respect that dictate, and hope others feel likewise.  We’re fortunate to have City Manager Bill Nicklas commanding our ship, and are blessed to have a dedicated corps of staff and City employees who are doing their best to serve the public during this extraordinary event.

            I’ve certainly discovered that technology has given society a big lift, in that many can accomplish much while away from their usual workplace.  Whether it be conference calls with Governor Pritzker or Representative Kinzinger…County Board leaders Mark Pietrowski and John Frieders…or simply taking part in a Kiwanis meeting utilizing ZOOM, many of us can be called techies, whether we wanted to or not!

            We’re all trying to help one another, and kudos to those who are trying to support our local bars and restaurants through using either drive-through or delivery.  My hope is that for most establishments, this will be just enough to get them through this terrible financial journey.  I really like how some of our eateries are using creative in developing daily specials and such novelties as offering ingredients for a do-it-yourself mini-pizza thought up by our friends at Pizza Villa.

            Hopefully, we’re beyond the grocery store hoarding that took place in the early days of this crisis, but isn’t it ironic that our non-disposable bag are no longer in vogue, falling to the advent of germ-killing rules.  And, watch your distance, my friend, even if you are anxious to get through the checkout lane!

            With few of us putting as much mileage on our cars nowadays, the price of gas has dipped below $2 per gallon at most stations.  I’m no economist, but it will be interesting to see what the price of oil…and the mechanisms to get it to the world marketplace…will be when this COVID-19 scenario is over.

            While our park districts have done a nice job of removing basketball hoops at playgrounds, to discourage grouping of participants, it appears that the great outdoors is a welcome environment for many who enjoy a leisurely stroll.  In my neighborhood, I don’t believe we’ve witnessed as many folks out walking, either by themselves or with their dogs, than we have in recent weeks. 

            I commend the Communiversity effort in getting behind the DeKalb County UNITES initiative, working with the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation and the DeKalb County Convention and Tourism Bureau to provide the mechanics to help many of our small businesses to stay alive.  Not having NIU in full operation has resulted in a huge economic hit for our region, and to see the university assisting during this crisis is heartening.

            As Mayor, I have attempted to encourage City Hall to be as transparent and communicative as possible during this unprecedented event.  I’ve asked that through our usual phone and email dealings, we keep our website as up-to-date as possible with things that people want to know.  So while it may be questions regarding water bills, garbage pickup operations, whatever…City Hall is open for business, even though physical access to our Municipal building is somewhat limited.

            While we have cancelled most of our scheduled board and commission meetings, we feel that our City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission sessions are critical as we move forward on some very important matters, including progress on the Ferrara and Ventus projects along the Route 23/Gurler Road corridor.  As a matter of fact, you may have noticed that construction is continuing in that vicinity.

            What this points out is that we must not stop moving forward during this period of uncertainty.  We are going to move through this COVID-19 crisis…we just don’t have any firm timetable.  Hopefully, we’ll see the “flattening of the curve,” and will be able to get back to some sense of normalcy.

            So, hang in there…and I’ll do the same.  Please know that I’m available at any time, even though I may not be in the office as much as usual.  Due to the social distancing, I simply cannot afford to join folks in large group settings, but am looking forward to a more visible public schedule come May or June.  Feel free to contact me by phone…(815) 748-2099 Office, (815) 751-6265 Cell, or by email at