Bold Ideas Have Some Upset

DeKalb County Online has received an invitation to a meeting set up for the residents of the “Ellwood Historic and the Hillcrest Neighborhoods” to share information about new plans by NIU and the City of DeKalb that may significantly impact the neighborhoods and to discuss what they can do to preserve the neighborhoods.

Resident and County Board member Misty Haji-Sheik and resident Diane MeMers are listed as the contacts with an email of The meeting is scheduled for Sunday, April 6, at 7pm at the Ellwood House Visitor Center.

savejohnThe City of DeKalb may be surprised to learn the Ellwood Historic District is unaware of the plans as members of that group have been instrumental in shaping the “DeKalb City Center” plans that collaborate with those of NIU.

The invitation to the meeting states the “Bold Ideas” came out of meetings held over five days in January 2014 between NIU campus leaders, students, facilities staff, City of DeKalb leaders and local “stakeholders.” However local neighborhood homeowners were not included in the discussions, according to the invitation.

“Bold Ideas” begins in Fall 2014 with one year, five year and future plans.

Some changes noted according to the invitation:

  • Make the Locust/College Avenue entrance to NIU the PRIMARY entrance, with traffic entering from Locust St. (on North First Street) to College Avenue to campus – through the center of the Ellwood Historic District.
  • Trolley or electric bus from NIU/Downtown via Locust/College.
  • Create a residential neighborhood south of the Fox Hollow neighborhood on what is now the North 40.
  • Create a new east-west road through the North 40 connecting North first Street to Garden Road. This road will handle traffic to the new residential neighborhood.
  • Hillcrest Reborn – “Thanks to the Students”
  • John Street and Harrison Avenue revitalized with “mixed use” (retail on the bottom and one or more floors of apartments above) and new homeowners (they propose to have faculty/staff and/or alumni living there)

Additional proposed changes to campus are:

  • Close Lucinda between the Kishwaukee River and Huskie Stadium to cars
  • Close Normal between the Lucinda and the Parking Garage to cars to creat a ‘spine’ of quad and walkways and ‘rediscover’ a stream that runs through campus.
  • Moving Greek Row down to Lucinda, across from the Holmes Student Center
  • And much more


A portion of the plans can be found at:

Read Ellwood Historic/Hillcrest Neighborhood invitation pdf file here.

Gracie Mott

About Gracie Mott

Grace Mott is an NIU alumni. She began her working career as a Juvenile Probation Officer, then was in charge of the teenage runaways through the DeKalb County Youth Service Bureau. She owned and operated a campground in southern DeKalb County from 1990 to 2000. Since then, she does both sales and fulfillment for DeKalb County Online's parent company, eWorldLinx. eWorldLinx also has made and maintains over 100, mostly local, business websites.
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