DeKALB – DeKalb Taylor Airport was alive Tuesday afternoon with activities as U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger piloted his vintage 1970s-era Mooney M201 aircraft to meet DeKalb city officials, Northern Illinois University representatives and select media people. The visit to DeKalb was part of a four city visit that included Rockford and Morris and other locations to acknowledge the various National Night Out events.
The bus tour left the airport and headed through parts of the Park 88 industrial park, the Annie Glidden North corridor, west NIU campus, Northern Illinois University’s Founders Memorial Library and downtown DeKalb. The tour was narrated by DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas and DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith.
Kinzinger said there are federal programs that he supports which can help spur progress and economic development. There are national funding programs for businesses to invest in areas with socioeconomic and disadvantaged communities. He was very supportive on the opportunities for higher education in his area.
1st Ward Alderman Carolyn Morris asked Kinzinger about a possible Amtrak train line going to DeKalb to support student transportation. Kinzinger said he would be for it but there is funding already being reviewed for a passenger train from Chicago to Rockford. The bus tour stopped in Founders Memorial Library on the campus of NIU, where the university’s “Code_Orange” program was in summer school mode. This is in new partnership with Discover Financial Services, which gives undergraduate students the opportunity to intern with Discover. Kinzinger stated that he was impressed that NIU has increased their efforts in getting more students interested in science, technology, engineering and math fields.The final stop on this whirlwind bus tour was in the downtown area of DeKalb. The bus stopped on Locust Street and one of the first things Representative Kinzinger noticed were the “DeKalb Hometown Hero” banners hanging from the street light poles. As a US Air Force reservist, Kinzinger is very supportive of the various military and veteran programs. Mayor Smith pointed out the new improvements in the re-building of downtown. It has been two years since his last visit and Kinzinger commented, “The reality is when you live in a community, you don’t see progress because everything happens kind of slowly every day.” He was impressed and commented “…. when you see the progress, you realize it’s pretty astounding to the community as a whole.” When asked about hosting a local town hall meeting in the DeKalb area, Representative Kinzinger said that he and the local field representative, Luke Phalen are looking at something in the future. Joining the bus tour at NIU was Illinois State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon). “Every time I come to the DeKalb area, I am impressed with the new projects under construction” said Demmers. The closing remarks from Mayor Smith at the end of the tour was how important it is to get various state and federal officials to visit the area. “If they (officials) don’t know about us, it is hard to get the recognition we deserve”.