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DeKalb's Hillside Restaurant owners awarded $12K in TIF funds for sewer replacement

DeKALB – Hillside Restaurant in downtown DeKalb will soon have a new sewer system thanks to a unanimous vote by the DeKalb City Council to give the restaurant owners $12,200 after its sewer line was damaged by crews working on the Egyptian Theatre expansion.

Gavin Wilson, who owns Hillside Restaurant with his wife, Mary, said Wednesday that he was pleased City Manager Bill Nicklas spearheaded the efforts to get the funds, which will come from tax increment financing funds.

“Bill championed this for us and made us feel like we were important and that he wanted to help take care of us,” Wilson said. “And he did. So we were grateful for the support from all the aldermen and from Bill.”

Mary Wilson, who spoke out against the Palmer Court expansion before the theater expansion project was awarded a $2.5 million TIF grant in February, said she and her husband have been dealing with fallout from construction since it began in May.

Nicklas said an independent contractor working for ComEd in Palmer Court was excavating old underground power lines and snagged a lateral sewer line connecting to Hillside, requiring emergency repair at the contractor’s expense. Hillside Restaurant has remained open despite the construction setbacks.

“They have been at ground zero, literally,” Nicklas said during Monday’s council meeting, when the council voted to award the TIF funds.

Nicklas said that while the repairs to the damaged line will be covered by the contractor’s insurance, the work revealed to the Wilsons a need for further maintenance on the building’s sewer systems, and they are looking for assistance to cover the costs of replacing the entire sewer system in the building.

Nicklas said the emergency repair would have been the end of it, but the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District already had plans for the Egyptian Theatre’s sewer expansion to connect to a new addition on Palmer Court, next to the restaurant; it will also now be connecting to the Hillside’s sewer lines. The TIF funds will cover that project.

“The location and elevation of [the sewer] is going to create further hardship that was not anticipated,” Nicklas said. “I thought under the circumstances and considering the city is very much involved in the Egyptian addition, that we might be able to extend some assistance as they do this.”

Gavin Wilson said the timeline for the project will be up to the construction crews.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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