DeKalb, Illinois has been named as one of the 50 communities from across the nation who have advanced to the quarterfinalist round of the Frontier Communications’ America’s Best Communities competition. This $10 million initiative by Frontier Communications, CoBank, Dish, and the Weather Channel is intended to stimulate economic revitalization in small towns and cities. As a quarterfinalist, DeKalb has been awarded $50,000 to further develop and implement comprehensive strategies to accelerate our local economy and improve quality of life. Information on the program is found online.
Mayor Rey said, "The ABC grant is a great opportunity to focus collaboration across the community. I am pleased to be among 50 cities selected for the next level in the application process. This gives us the benefit to direct energy on projects in an organized fashion and leverage local resources."
DeKalb’s submittal references the community’s deep rooted agricultural legacy and growth. Current amenities include an educated community which boasts a four-year world class research university and a first-class community college, investment in medical and educational facilities, a broad mix of industrial and medical jobs, and downtown investment. The City Council has begun a strategic plan initiative that will build upon other planning documents. The Mayor continued, “DeKalb has an infrastructure of people and facilities with a “can do” attitude. Opportunity lies in fostering a climate of economic vibrancy as a new normal and attracting talent and skills with a strong work ethic. Embracing the innovative spirit will leave our community a better place in which future generations will flourish.”
Working on this grant application were Frank Roberts (Castle Bank and ReNew DeKalb), Dee Coover (DeKalb Public Library), Matt Duffy (DeKalb Chamber of Commerce), Tim Lehan (Lehan Drugs), Denise Weinmann (RVG Milner Carpenter Realty and ReNew DeKalb), Mayor John Rey, City Manager Anne Marie Gaura, Jennifer Diedrich, and Ellen Divita of the City of DeKalb, with input from a wide variety of community groups including the City Economic Development Commission, and many community leaders.
A list of communities who submitted, and who have advanced is found online.