Re:New DeKalb will be strategically refocusing the organization’s activities following the completion of its ambitious public improvement program and the resignation of Executive Director Jennifer Groce.
Frank Roberts, President of Re:New DeKalb, stated “this marks the beginning of a new era for Re:New DeKalb. The organization will continue to coordinate with the City of DeKalb on various public projects, but is also taking downtown revitalization to the next level. Ms. Groce has contributed richly to this organization and its activities, and we look forward to continued collaboration with her in her new position at Northern Illinois University. The Board of Directors and I are energized about our direction and look forward to identifying new leadership to help us continue the revitalization efforts for Downtown DeKalb.”
For two years Groce has been a part-time Research Associate at Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies while also serving as the Executive Director of Re:New DeKalb. She will pursue her NIU work full-time, which consists of a range of research and policy studies relating to community and economic development. The Center for Governmental Studies is a public service, applied research, and public policy development unit within NIU Outreach. The Center functions as a “think and do” tank, applying the intellectual resources of the university to address public issues facing communities, the region, the state, and the nation.
Re:New DeKalb is preparing to complete the initial phase of public improvements of the downtown revitalization plan. The project, which will be completed ahead of schedule and under budget, included needed infrastructure and aesthetic improvements. “With the construction of the public improvements coming to a close, we had to ask ourselves if our work was done. We concluded that our strategic partnerships and targeted investments are more important than ever. High on our list for the next phase of downtown planning are mixed-use projects, increased parking, and business development,” said Roberts.
Jennifer Groce has served as the Executive Director of Re:New DeKalb, Inc. (formerly known as Main Street DeKalb) for nearly eight years. Groce led the organization through the creation and the initial implementation of the downtown DeKalb plan. She will see the public improvements project through completion this June followed by a community celebration in July before moving on to the Center for Governmental Studies on August 1, 2011.
“I am very grateful to the DeKalb community and the many downtown stakeholders for their support and dedication to the revitalization of our community over the years. This has been an incredible journey and I am honored to have been part of such an important effort. DeKalb has become home for my family and we are excited to watch the revitalization of our community continue. I am pleased that my new role at Northern Illinois University will allow me to continue to serve our community and our region,” said Groce.