Four projects in three years; DeKalb is telling its story in a new way

City council approves new packing facility near Gurler Road.
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 6:17 PM CDT
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DEKALB, Ill. (WIFR) - City leaders say Dekalb wasn’t telling its story loud enough, but with a fourth new project in the works, the Barb City’s successes are no longer a secret.

This time it’s focus is supplying distribution, packaging, and storage for businesses. Authorities call it: Project Wildcat.

“Those companies that are looking to have access to the Chicagoland area but want to be outside in terms of the road network, the heavy traffic and sprawl like our area,” said Bill Nicklas, Dekalb city manager.

Some of the companies that already have planted roots and claimed land in the area are Amazon, Meta and Ferrero. Nicklas says they joined project wildcat because of a good road system that is in the Chicagoland area, but without all the congestion.

“Another key thing is provide jobs that I would call career type jobs, family center jobs, that people can live off of and make them want to put roots in their community,” he said.

Roots like great education, popular gyms and restaurants and a reliable water system is what draws in outsiders. Nicklas says, “Those together I think make a pretty nice package, and I think we feel that, that’s of value to the people who have located here.”

The project will be built in several different phases with it being fully operational by early 2025.

“DeKalb wasn’t telling its story very loudly or very widely until recently and I think it’s a good story,” said Nicklas.

This is very exciting news for Dekalb, but it’s not the only city seeing encouraging advancements. A few exciting new projects are happening right now across the Stateline.

For example, in Rockford, the temporary casino gains traction from tourists, and project leaders also work to restore the Barber Coleman building on the southwest side of the city.

The development of Meadow’s mall in Freeport also brings a surplus of jobs, and allows shoppers to run their errands close to home.

Several months ago the pipe and tool manufacturer called “Zekelman Industries” broke ground in Rochelle. It brought in more than 100 job opportunities to the Stateline. Belvidere looks forward to expansion at General Mills as Cherry Valley prepares to break ground on the Rock 39 industrial park.

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