DeKalb residents revitalize Annie Glidden North group

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DeKALB – Residents passionate about revitalizing the long-troubled Annie Glidden North neighborhood came together Wednesday to talk strategy with city officials.

The city dissolved its Annie Glidden North Task Force on Jan. 14 after a successful months-long planning initiative that resulted in the City Council adopting the task force's plan as part of its Comprehensive Plan. Task force members were eager to keep in touch throughout Phase 1 of the process and now have formed the citizen-led Annie Glidden North Revitalization Action Group.

Among the events’ speakers was Dan Kenney, executive director of the DeKalb County Community Gardens and former task force member. The group held its first meeting at Fanatico, 1215 Blackhawk Road, among a crowd of about 40 people, Kenney said. Representatives from Nothern Illinois University, the city of DeKalb and the DeKalb Police Department also were in attendance.

“I’m very happy with the involvement,” Kenney said after the meeting Wednesday. “Everyone wants to stay engaged and be helpful in the future, and I think it’s a very good start.”

The task force was frequently heralded for its cooperative nature, composed of a diverse group of community members.

Mayor Jerry Smith also spoke during the event and stressed how important implementation of the plan’s components is, now that a plan has been adopted.

“From the city’s perspective, we will use whatever resource and whatever contacts we may have to see that an organizational structure is formulated to translate ideas into action items,” Smith said during the meeting. “Let me be clear in letting you know that from my personal perspective, we need to continue to call upon all components of this neighborhood and of this community to implement that action.”

Kenney said much of Wednesday’s conversation was hypothetical, but the group would like to possibly form a 501(c)(3) community development organization or a community development financing institute.

“That’s sort of like in different places, where a combination of private and public money comes together to form a financing instrument to help start businesses and do economic development in neighborhoods,” Kenney said.

The group is creating a website, Kenney said, which will be a hub for communication. Interested residents soon can view it at