March 2023

Bridge Replacement Projects Begin

The bridges over the Kishwaukee River for both North First Street and Lucinda Avenue are scheduled to close March 1 for reconstruction, with substantial completion and return of traffic access programmed for mid-August of this year.

The North First Street bridge, constructed in 1977, and the Lucinda Avenue bridge, built in 1954, were scheduled for replacement under state guidelines based upon bi-annual inspections. Both bridges will be removed completely and rebuilt as single span structures.

These important infrastructure projects will cause disruptions to the traffic patterns for Northern Illinois University, Clinton Rosette Middle School, and many north-south travel habits. Given the complexity of the work, it is not possible to complete the projects in the summer months alone when school is not in session. However, the City coordinated with the University and DeKalb School District during the initial design and planning phases to begin the projects aggressively in early spring, enabling the community to target completion before the start of the Fall 2023 school year.

Traffic detours have been established for the projects; however, motorists will be able to access all developed properties throughout the term of the project. Travelers with a destination beyond the primary detour cut-off will be allowed access up to the edge of the bridge work.

The City is using the First Street bridge reconstruction as an opportunity to improve safety and convenience for pedestrians and bicyclists. As part of the project, a shared-use path will be built underneath North First Street to connect existing paths along NIU’s North 40 and the athletic fields at Clinton Rosette Middle School. Currently, those using the path have to conflict with traffic before crossing First Street via on-street striping. Creation of the underpass will enhance connectivity and recreational experience in the City.

The bridge closures are expected to remain in place until the completion of the projects expected in mid-August. Pedestrians and cyclists should also anticipate interruptions to full connectivity in the areas immediately adjacent to the structures for all or parts of the project.

The projects are being funded significantly by State infrastructure programs.

Community members with questions on the projects may call City Engineer Zac Gill at 815-748-2331.

North-South through traffic traveling N. First St. will be directed to Sycamore Road and East Hillcrest Drive, utilizing the Hillcrest Drive Bridge.

East-West through traffic traveling Lucinda Ave./Miller Ave. will be directed to Rolfe Rd, Woodley Drive, College Ave, and Gilbert T Way, utilizing the College Ave Bridge.

In This Issue

DeKalb Awards $200K to Social Service Agencies

Conditional State Licenses Issued for Dispensaries

New Alert System Approved for Fire Stations

DeKalb Fire Recognizes Milestones

New Police Officer Takes Oath

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Mural Volunteers Neede

Mayor Cohen Barnes (second from left in foreground) listened to ideas from community members for the new City Hall mural on Feb. 18 at the DeKalb Public Library. Two public brainstorming sessions were held on the mural design last month.

Community engagement in the mural is just getting started! Volunteers are needed to create the mosaic panels that will make up the mural. If you, your business, church or organization are interested in volunteering, e-mail or call 815-748-2396.

DeKalb Awards $200,000 to Local Social Service Agencies

The City of DeKalb is awarding $200,000 to support 19 local social service programs, including two agencies receiving the funding for the first time.

The City Council on Jan. 23 approved this year’s human service funding. Awarded by the City since 1998, this funding supports local non-profit agencies providing essential social services for the most vulnerable individuals and families in the DeKalb community.

Mayor Cohen Barnes (second from right in photo) said it is gratifying to be able to support the work of local nonprofits serving everyone from children to seniors.

“Let’s not forget all the great things that we do for so many different organizations in the funding that we provide them,” said Barnes. “That is abundantly apparent right here.”

The organizations receiving the funding for the first time are Opportunity DeKalb, a nonprofit community development corporation working in the Annie Glidden North neighborhood, and the Youth Pride Foundation, which provides youth programs in sports, mentorship and tutoring.

Here is the full list of recipients:

  • Adventure Works of DeKalb County, $10,000
  • Barb City Manor, $3,600
  • Barb Food Mart, $16,000
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), $5,000
  • DeKalb 4Cs, $19,000
  • DeKalb County Community Gardens, $6,500
  • Elder Care Services, $11,000
  • Family Service Agency - Club 55, $13,000
  • Family Service Agency - Youth programming, $20,000
  • Fox Valley Community Services, $8,000
  • Hope Haven, $9,000
  • Kishwaukee YMCA - Camp Power, $14,000
  • Nguzo Saba Men’s Club, $6,000
  • Opportunity DeKalb, $5,000
  • RAMP, $6,000
  • Safe Passage, $16,000
  • St. Vincent de Paul, $9,000
  • Voluntary Action Center, $20,000
  • Youth Pride Foundation, $2,900

Recipients must report back to the City on the impact of their grant. Details on how the agencies will use their funding are included with the Council agenda.

Conditional State Licenses Issued for Dispensaries

Crystal Anderson (left) and Nakia McAdoo with Excelleaf Dispensary discuss the plans for their business at 305 E. Locust at the Feb. 13 City Council meeting.

Plans have been approved for a cannabis dispensary in downtown DeKalb, and a conditional state license has been issued for a second dispensary in the City.

The DeKalb City Council voted unanimously Feb. 13 to approve a special use permit to allow a dispensary, to be named Excelleaf, in the vacant building at 305 E. Locust St. A conditional state license has already been secured.

Plans for the building include construction of a four-foot wide ramp at the front entrance to improve accessibility. Dispensaries are required to follow state rules on signage, which prohibit images of cannabis leaves or paraphernalia from appearing on exterior business signs.

The agent and managers for the business have more than 60 collective years as advanced practice nurses. Mayor Cohen Barnes welcomed them to the community while noting the new business brings an end to a long wait for a dispensary in DeKalb caused by delays in the state’s permitting process.

“It has been a long time we have been talking about this, so I couldn’t be more excited about having you all come to our community and start a new business,” said Barnes. “I just wish you absolutely all the best of luck, but I have a feeling you are going to crush it. Welcome to DeKalb, and thanks again for investing in our community.”

Meanwhile, a conditional state license has been issued for a second dispensary location in the City. If the license conditions are met, the business, to be operated by NuMed Partners, will be in the Junction Shopping Center on West Lincoln Highway. Sixth Ward Alderman Mike Verbic said architects are preparing for the build out.

“I think it’s great that the people of DeKalb that have definitely demanded this service and this product will have options,” said Verbic.

NuMed Partners first received City approval for a dispensary in 2020. Due to the delays at the state level, two extensions were granted for the City permit.

Visit the City's Employment Page to view and apply for open positions. For more info, contact Human Resources at 815-748-2398. 

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New Alert System Approved for Fire Stations

The City of DeKalb is improving its technology for alerting firefighter/paramedics to emergency response calls.

The DeKalb City Council on Feb. 27 approved replacing the alert system, which is installed at all three fire stations. The system activates speakers, lights and other notification hardware when a 911 call is received. The existing system, which is more than 30 years old, has required expensive maintenance over the past several years.

Along with lighting and tone alerts, the new system will provide voice-over-text technology, cell phone application alerts, mapping, ticker displays and doorbell cameras.

The upgrade will improve system reliability for dispatch information, response times, station security and notifications.

The new system will be funded through a contribution from the Emergency Telephone System Board and funds received through the Ground Emergency Medical Transportation program.

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Flying Huskies

DeKalb Airport is always happy to see the Huskies! The NIU women’s basketball team flew to Miami of Ohio last week. Learn more about how the airport serves as a regional asset by following DeKalb Airport on Facebook.

DeKalb Fire Recognizes Milestones

Four members of the DeKalb Fire Department reached career milestones in February. Congratulations to these team members.

Fire Chief Mike Thomas (right) congratulates Brian Andrus on his promotion to Captain.

Battalion Chief Todd Stoffa (right) congratulates Juan Gasca on passing probation.

Shift Two recognized Paul Meyer (left) and Lukas Farris for passing probation.


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Users can also text ALERTDEKALB to 67283 to report criminal or suspicious activity and quality of life concerns.

New Police Officer Takes Oath

Officer Arias-Garcia was sworn in Feb. 6 as the newest member of the DeKalb Police Department. Welcome to the DeKalb community, Officer Arias-Garcia.

City Responds to Ice Storm

An ice storm on Feb. 22 created a busy day across the City.

Not only did the Fire Department run more than 20 medical and fire calls, firefighter/ paramedics also responded to over 40 calls for fallen power lines.

Public Works worked into the night and for several days clearing fallen tree limbs. Both Departments worked in cooperation with DeKalb Police.

Upcoming Meetings

Citizens' Environmental Commission

March 2, 4:30 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Training Room at the DeKalb Police Department

Planning & Zoning Commission

March 6, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

DeKalb Public Library Board

March 8, 7 p.m. in the Bilder Family Room at the DeKalb Public Library

City Council

March 13, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

Citizens' Community Enhancement Commission

March 20, 4 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Training Room at the DeKalb Police Department

Planning & Zoning Commission

March 20, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

City Council

March 27, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

Airport Advisory Board

March 28, 7 p.m. in the West Community Hangar at the DeKalb Airport

To view agendas for City meetings, please go to the City's Agenda Center here.
To check for meeting cancellations and location updates, please check the City Website here.

March Community Events

Downtown Merchants

Vintage Shop Hop

A fun event featuring many of downtown DeKalb's vintage shops, boutiques, specialty shops, restaurants and more. Look for small pop up shops in retail locations, great eateries, discounts and treats.

Friday, March 3 & Saturday, March 4

Find more information on the Downtown Merchants, visit their Facebook page.

DeKalb Public Library

309 Oak Street

The History of Carole King

Gary Wenstrup tells the amazing story of a young, earnest songwriter whose mix of gently rocking pop, folk, and soul music touched and warmed us all.

Thursday, March 9, at 7 p.m.

Learn more about the program here, and view all of the library's programs on its calendar.

Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Spring Pops Concert

The program includes On the Beautiful Blue Danube, the Waltz from Sleeping Beauty and the March from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Friday, March 10, 7:30 p.m.

NIU Boutell Memorial Concert Hall

400 Lucinda Ave.

Purchase tickets here.

Kishwaukee Concert Band

End-of-Winter Concert

The Kishwaukee Concert Band (KCB) is a voluntary adult community organization dedicated to the rehearsal and performance of traditional and contemporary concert band music for the cultural benefit of DeKalb County.

Sunday, March 12, 3 p.m.

NIU Boutell Memorial Concert Hall

400 Lucinda Ave.

Learn more about the concert here.

Stage Coach Players

126 S. 5th Street

All Shook Up

This production is a a hip-swiveling, lip-curling musical fantasy, filled with one classic Elvis Presley after another.

March 16-26

Purchase tickets here, and visit the theater's full schedule.

Egyptian Theatre

135 N. 2nd Street

Liverpool Legends

This tribute to the Beatles is back by popular demand.

Saturday, March 25, 7:30 p.m.

Purchase tickets here, and see the theater's full schedule on its Events calendar.

Find more to do on the City of DeKalb Events Calendar.

Get community news all month long by following the City of DeKalb on social media.

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City Officials
Cohen Barnes, Mayor

Carolyn Morris, Alderwoman - 1st Ward

Barb Larson, Alderwoman - 2nd Ward

Tracy Smith, Alderman - 3rd Ward

Greg Perkins, Alderman - 4th Ward

Scott McAdams, Alderman - 5th Ward

Mike Verbic, Alderman - 6th Ward

Anthony Faivre, Alderman - 7th Ward

Ruth Scott, Recording Secretary

Bill Nicklas, City Manager

Hours of Operation
City Phone Numbers

City Hall          

164 E. Lincoln Highway

Monday - Friday  

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Police Station

700 West Lincoln Highway

Monday - Friday   

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Public Works

1216 Market Street

Monday - Friday

7 a.m. - 4 p.m.

DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport    

3232 Pleasant Street  

Monday - Friday     

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

City Clerk 815-748-2090 

City Manager's Office 815-748-2090

Community Development Department 815-748-2070

DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport 815-748-8102

Finance Department 815-748-2000

Fire/Police Emergency 911

Fire Non-Emergency 815-748-8460

Mayor's Office 815-758-1886

Police Non-Emergency 815-748-8400

Public Works Department 815-748-2040

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