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Local

Annie Glidden revitalization task force inspires

Residents encouraged to proceed with meeting as part of new action group

Cars and pedestrians travel on West Hillcrest Drive near Blackhawk Road in the Annie Glidden North neighborhood in DeKalb.
Cars and pedestrians travel on West Hillcrest Drive near Blackhawk Road in the Annie Glidden North neighborhood in DeKalb.

DeKALB – Now that the city dissolved its Annie Glidden North Task Force, a community advocate is forming an action group to continue discussions and potential initiatives – and he is inviting others to join him.

Although the official task force was dissolved Jan. 14 after a successful months-long planning initiative which resulted in City Council adopting the plan as part of its Comprehensive Plan, task force members were eager to keep in touch throughout Phase 1 of the process.

According to a media release sent by Dan Kenney, executive director of the DeKalb County Community Gardens and former task force member, community participants remain committed to continuing the planning work.

“We have had either [people] thus far express plans to attend [the meeting], and three more who want to be part of the effort going forward,” Kenney said. “It is important to have a wide range of involvement from the entire community.”

The new group will be completely community-run, dubbed the Annie Glidden Neighborhood Revitalization Action Group, and continue with the collaborative spirit for which the task force was recognized in January.

Part of Kenney’s instrumental work during the planning process on the task force is an ongoing strategy to create a community food and education center.

Kenney has said he envisions a center that would perform several functions: a restaurant, small grocery store, food pantry, outdoor market, commercial shared-use incubator kitchen and food hub and a small urban farm with a greenhouse. By day, the incubator kitchen would be a pay-as-you-can café serving soup, salad and bread.

The center also would be affiliated with Northern Illinois University’s Northern Illinois Center for Community Stability, a $23 million project announced in October as part of NIU’s inclusion in the Illinois Innovation Network, Kenney said.

Kenney said a Phase 1 funding plan for the food and education center is in the works, and his organization already has secured funding commitments from private donors.

For anyone interested in joining the informal group, an upcoming lunch meeting will be held at noon Feb. 27 at Fanatico, 1215 Blackhawk Road, DeKalb.

Those who wish to attend should RSVP with Chad Glover, director of Jobs PLUS at NIU and an action group member at cglover@niu.edu.

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