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Friday, April 3, 2020

City of Dekalb Economic Development Commission met February 7

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Mar 20, 2020

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City of Dekalb Economic Development Commission met Feb. 7.

Here is the minutes provided by the commission:

The Economic Development Commission (EDC) of the City of DeKalb, Illinois held a regular meeting on February 7, 2020 in the Executive Conference Room of the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth Street, DeKalb, Illinois.

The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m.


Executive Assistant Ruth Scott called the roll and the following EDC members were present: Chair Jeff Richardson, Members Grant Goltz, Mark Sawyer, Brian Scholle and Sam Walt, and Ex-Officio Members Matt Duffy (DeKalb Chamber of Commerce) and Paul Borek (DCEDC). Member Vernese Edghill-Walden arrived at 8:34 a.m.

Others present included: Mayor Jerry Smith, Alderman Carolyn Morris, City Manager Bill Nicklas, Transit Manager Marcus Cox, Executive Assistant Ruth Scott.



Mr. Sawyer moved to approve the agenda; seconded by Mr. Walt. 


Motion carried by a voice vote of the majority of members present. 


1. January 3, 2020.


Mr. Goltz moved to approve the agenda; seconded by Mr. Sawyer. 


Motion carried by a voice vote of the majority of members present.


There was none.


1. City Manager Report.

City Manager Nicklas reported that Raising Canes Chicken Fingers has expressed interested in old Applebee’s site. The current building will be demolished, and a new building constructed, with a drive through. He also provided a brief report on the Ferrara Candy Company project, noting site construction is moving along, as well as the Ventus project.

Brief discussion ensued regarding Gurler Road impact due to the new construction in that area. City Manager Nicklas noted that engineering studies are almost complete.

Brief discussion ensued regarding the Ferrara Candy Company. City Manager Nicklas noted that part of the reason why Ferrara chose DeKalb was because of its power access, the city’s water system, access to the tollway, the willingness of our state representatives and senators, city responsiveness, and two institutions of higher learning – Northern Illinois University and Kishwaukee Community College. He also noted that the data center (Ventus) is pleased and mindful of Northern Illinois University being in town.

Discussion ensued regarding the timeline of building permits. City Manager Nicklas noted that he made some changes to the process in early 2019. He continues to work with the building division in order to streamline the process, such as revising the city’s municipal code and inspection process.

2. DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Report.

Mr. Duffy reported on upcoming events that included an afterhours gathering at the chamber’s new location and the Community Expo on April 4, 2020. He also stated that new “In the Loop” videos are in the works, one of which covers the 2020 census.

There was brief discussion regarding the former O’Leary’s building and the potential new owners.

3. DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) Report.

Mr. Borek reported that obtaining the Ferrara project was a collaborative effort between local governments. He also reported that the DCEDC is working on a strategic branding initiative for DeKalb County. There is a list of questions he’d like to share with the EDC for their comments. He will forward those to Executive Assistant Scott who will then provide them to the EDC members.

Brief discussion ensued regarding bringing the possibility of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district on the southside of DeKalb. City Manager Nicklas stated that a study completed in 2017-2018 indicated there wasn’t enough to break even. He noted the study could be commissioned again perhaps once Ferrara is in place and we know more about the Ventus project.


1. Business Retention Program Business List and Questions – 2020.

Discussion regarding this item included a brief look at the revised list of visits and questions.

Mr. Sawyer and Mr. Borek stated they would make the time to visit with Jeff Wagner of Wagner Excavating and Don Jones of the Forge Resources Group before the next EDC meeting in March. A follow up of the meetings will be provided to Executive Assistant Scott and she will forward that information to the other EDC members.

Mr. Goltz noted that he would schedule time to visit with Curran Contracting and Pappas Development. Mr. Scholle expressed interest in meeting with them as well.

2. AGN Resource Guide.

Mr. Cox provided a draft of the resource guide and an update on the information provided, including routes and services, must have information, Q&A, and the route map.

Discussion ensued. Ms. Edgehill-Walden suggested that educational services should be added to the route map.

Further discussion included adding a section that would show the user which route to take to get to a specific place, i.e., Park 88 or Pleasant Street.

There was also brief discussion regarding future signage on the buses.


1. EconomicDevelopmentCommissionMissionStatement.

It was decided that this item would return on the next meeting’s agenda for further discussion.


There was no discussion regarding this item.



Mr. Scholle moved to adjourn the meeting; seconded by Ms. Edghill-Walden.


Motioned carried by a voice vote of the majority of members present. The meeting was adjourned at 9:52 a.m.

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