Started by members of the Annie Glidden North Task Force, Opportunity DeKalb was founded to insure the Annie Glidden North Revitalization Plan will not sit on a shelf and that the goals and aspirations identified by the community in the plan will be realized.
By forming a nonprofit community development corporation, we are stepping forward to serve the need for such an organization outlined in the revitalization plan.
OUR TOP PRIORITIES
Transportation, Infrastructure, and Open Space
Neighborhood Safety and Security
Housing and Commercial Development
Annie Glidden North
10 Core Transformational Goals
These goals were selected by the community as catalysts for creating positive activity through interconnection of new services and uses for the AGN Neighborhood and surrounding community.
Establish a community food and education center
Planning for a community food and education center and coordination of a fundraising campaign for the project are underway under the leadership of DeKalb County Community Gardens.
Ahead of the construction of the community food and education center, the City of DeKalb has provided funding for food distributions by the DeKalb County Community Gardens Grow Mobile and meals at the Camp Power summer camp at University Village.
Create a community development corporation (CDC)
Opportunity DeKalb was founded as a nonprofit community development corporation to fill the role for such an organization called for in the revitalization plan.
Opportunity DeKalb formed a board of directors, employed an intern from Northern Illinois University, and created working groups. The organization has collaborated on a series of projects and events with the City of DeKalb, NIU, the University Village Collaborative, and other nonprofit organizations active in the neighborhood.
Lighting and surveillance safety improvements
20 solar-powered light poles have been installed throughout the neighborhood by the City of DeKalb. Along with improving safety by providing more light, these poles house Wi-Fi equipment that supplies free basic broadband internet access.
Identification of local transportation improvements and direct integration with DSATS study
Sidewalks were added by the City of DeKalb along Twombly Road as part of a larger project with DeKalb County and DeKalb Township that saw the road resurfaced. The sidewalks will be part of a pathway to improve safety for students walking and riding their bicycles to DeKalb High School.
As part of its 2022 street maintenance program, the City of DeKalb plans to resurface Ridge Drive from Normal Road to the west cul-de-sac. Sidewalk work will also be done on Arcadia Drive and Greenbrier Road to prepare for the resurfacing of these roads as early as the fall of 2022.
Quieting traffic through the neighborhood will help encourage interaction between the Greek houses.
Create a community center program
2021 saw the emergence of multiple community events held in Annie Glidden North that included a Sir Donald Foundation community outreach event, Juneteenth Celebration, Faces of Belonging event, as well as several neighborhood meetings organized by Opportunity DeKalb to help residents connect with one another and provide input about the future of the neighborhood.
Since 2018, the City of DeKalb has secured annual funding for the University Village Collaborative, which provides social services to the residents of the apartment complex through a network of local nonprofit agencies.
Redesign Welsh Park as a local and regional destination
With the help of an Illinois Department of Natural Resources OSLAD Grant, the DeKalb Park District completed an $800,000 reinvestment and renovation of Welsh Park.
Welsh Park improvements include a new playground, 8’ wide asphalt walking paths, a splash pad, a rain garden and pollinator area with interpretive sign, pickleball courts, a new full basketball court with bleachers, an accessible park connection with depressed curb, and a game area. More information can be found Here.
Create a Lucinda focus area prioritizing redevelopment
Update Coming Soon
Develop streetscape and gateway improvements for the Greek Row area
At the request of the Greek Row community, the City of DeKalb plans to construct cul-de-sacs on the west ends of Edgebrook and Kimberly Drive.
Create a Hillcrest/Blackhawk focus area prioritizing mixed-use development
The City of DeKalb has acquired the properties on the northwest corner of West Hillcrest Drive and Blackhawk Road to aid their redevelopment into a focus area for the neighborhood.
In 2020, the vacant Campus Cinemas building on Blackhawk Road was demolished. In 2021, the City of DeKalb acquired the strip mall along Hillcrest that included nine commercial businesses on the first floor and 14 second-floor residences, six of which had been declared uninhabitable.
Working with the Opportunity DeKalb Board and other community voices, the DeKalb City Council intends to define the future uses for this site and raze the sprawling Hillcrest structure in the spring of 2022 to prompt redevelopment interest based on that community and neighborhood vision. In the meantime, the Council has provided a responsible relocation program, funded by the American Rescue Plan Fund, for the commercial and residential tenants.
Work with local health care providers to establish a walk-in clinic or urgent care facility
With funding from the DeKalb County COVID-19 Response Fund, the DeKalb County Health Department was able to purchase a mobile health unit to help serve neighborhoods across the county, including Annie Glidden North. More information can be found Here.
The customized mobile unit includes:
• A waiting space to accommodate individuals or families with seating, storage, and hand washing station.
• A separate exam area that can accommodate adults or adolescents also equipped with seating, storage and hand washing station.
• Screens to help with monitoring clients.
• Small refrigerator.
• Fully air conditioned and heated unit.
• 16’ retractable power awning
• Technology and connectivity required to securely record data and support health visits.
• Equipped with safety equipment including a fire extinguisher and PPE
Further progress toward revitalization
In 2021, the City of DeKalb demolished the condemned apartment building at 912 Edgebrook Drive. After the 40-unit apartment building was razed, the property was returned to green space.
In December 2021, the DeKalb City Council unanimously approved a $1 million incentive to aid the sale of three apartment complexes. Two of the complexes are in the Annie Glidden North neighborhood, and the third is on the City’s west side. These properties see a disproportionately high number of police, fire and code responses. The firm under contract to purchase the buildings is planning renovations and security upgrades.
Since the completion of the Annie Glidden North Revitalization Plan, the City of DeKalb has invested more than $3.9 million into the neighborhood through demolitions, infrastructure, internet access and support of social service programs. Here’s a breakdown of how the funding has been spent.
Free Wi-Fi internet access: $310,000
Demolition of 912 Edgebrook: $400,000
Demolition of Campus Cinemas building: $375,000
University Village Collaborative: $150,308
Support of Grow Mobile food distributions: $30,324
Support of Regional Office of Education diaper distributions: $4,000
Support of Camp Power summer camp & meals: $70,860
Twombly Road sidewalks: $110,000
Summer bus shuttle at University Village: $53,000
Property Acquisition: $1,185,000
Relocation assistance for tenants: $80,000
Property purchase incentives: $1,000,000
This total will grow as bids for planned road improvement projects are received and more of the AGN Revitalization Plan is implemented.
In August 2021, Northern Illinois University launched the Presidential Task Force on the Revitalization of Greek Life. The task force is examining and will recommend ways to reinvigorate Greek Life at NIU. More information can be found Here.