City to revisit demolishing Edgebrook Manor Apartment Complex with block grant funding

DeKALB – The city council on Monday unanimously approved its annual Community Development Block Grant plan, and city staff hope to use the funds to demolish the vacant Edgebrook Manor Apartment Complex and address infrastructure repair in the Annie Glidden North Neighborhood.

"I think it's a great program, to have funds available for exterior and interior improvements of a home in our city," said Ward 7 Alderman Tony Faivre. "We need to get the word out to people so they can take advantage of our program."

The city's community development block program is federally funded and provides resources and money for city residents who go toward housing and community development initiatives, according to the city website. The five-year plan helps the city set priorities and meet goals, and the annual action plan complements that schedule, which must also be approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Development.

City Manager Bill Nicklas said funding for the demo of the 47-unit vacant apartment complex at 912 Edgebrook Drive would have to first be approved by HUD. It's not the first time the city has set its sights on taking down the old building. At one point, the Annie Glidden North Revitalization Plan organizers eyed the space for a community center.

Edgebrook Manor Apartment Complex was condemned in 2014 because of numerous safety violations. The city purchased the property in 2017, amid divisive public push back because of its $190,000 price tag and the $300,000-plus asbestos abatement and demolition costs that went with it. A driving force behind the push was the city's desire to continue revitalization efforts in the troubled Annie Glidden North neighborhood.

Thanks to the approved block grant program plan, those efforts could also include improving fiber-optics in the area, street lighting, sidewalks on Twombly Road and more, Nicklas said.

"Many underserved areas where persons of low to moderate income or disabled persons are living, the broadband fiber optic services have not always been available," City Manager Bill Nicklas said. "So we're trying to push those in the Annie Glidden North area."

He said through a partnerships with the DeKalb Township and DeKalb County, Twombly Road could also see sidewalk improvements, especially those close to Eden Garden Apartment Complex.

"This has to be approved by HUD," Nicklas said. "But if it is approved and we get this budget and we get carry-on funds, I think we're in business in 2020 to do some things that people have been waiting for here for a long time."