DeKALB – The roads are a little smoother these days for DeKalb residents looking to shop at Market Square Shopping Center or catch a movie at the AMC theater, as road resurfacing is now complete.
It’s one of several infrastructure improvement projects the city of DeKalb announced as finished this fall.
The resurfacing along Market Square was paid for by the shopping center owners, according to a city social media post.
In January 2020, the DeKalb City Council approved the creation of a special service tax district, which at the time included 18 retailers. Concerns had been raised regularly about ongoing road conditions, including persistent potholes. As a result, the city imposed an annual fall tax on the retailers, meant to pay for regular road repair.
“The owners of that had an opportunity in 2020 to object to the special service area and they did not,” City Engineer Zac Gill said. “I assume that means that they are at least amenable to, if not in favor of, the idea of using it to ensure maintenance of those areas.”
Gill said he doesn’t think the improvements could have been made possible had it not been for the SSA.
Road resurfacing of the Market Square Shopping Center common areas was made possible at just under $250,000 price tag, officials said.
“I think a lot of people don’t understand that none of those are city streets in there,” Gill said. “As soon as you turn off of Sycamore Road there at the stoplight, all that is privately owned.”
South side changes
More construction on the city’s south side was also completed this fall, as new traffic signals were installed at Route 23 and Gurler Road, part of a larger project meant to accommodate a significant increase in truck and other traffic near the Chicago West Business Center. Over the past two years, several big-name companies have put down roots there, including the $1 billion Meta DeKalb Data Center, Ferrara Candy Company and Amazon.
Gill said the traffic safety improvements off Route 23 and Gurler Road have been a long time in the making.
This project encompasses not only traffic signal activation but the installation of new turn lanes and roadway widening.
“We started that process years ago,” Gill said. “It took quite a while. We actually received a grant from the state, so that added an extra kind of step to it, as well.”
Gill said the traffic study results indicate that there’s a need for the new traffic signals off Route 23 and Gurler.
“Mainly, it’s because those turn lanes allow vehicles to store there or what we call queue,” Gill said.
The city has received just shy of $1.5 million in state funding to allocate toward the cost to activate light signals, officials said.
Gill said the city didn’t take on any costs for the signalization project.
“We play an administrative role, but we didn’t have any direct expenses,” Gill said.