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DeKalb advances in America’s Best Communities competition

January 14, 2016

15-Pres-Picnic-ProudlyDeKalb_webThe city of DeKalb is one of 15 communities from across the nation to advance to the next round of the $10 million America’s Best Communities competition.

Officials from Frontier Communications announced Wednesday that DeKalb has advanced to the competition’s semifinals in pursuit of the grand prize of up to $3 million.

The competition is sponsored by Frontier, DISH Network, CoBank and the Weather Channel with the goal of fostering hope and inspire economic revitalization in small towns and cities across the country.

“I am pleased but not surprised at news that DeKalb has once again advanced in the prestigious ‘America’s Best Communities’ competition,” said NIU President Doug Baker.

“City leaders are tireless in their efforts to continuously improve the community, and local residents give generously of their time to bring new ideas to fruition,” Baker added. “In my nearly three years here, I have been incredibly impressed to see how well this community supports services for people who live here, and how those services provide opportunities for our students.”

By advancing the semifinals, DeKalb is now eligible to win major investments to implement its Community Revitalization Plan, which includes seven key projects to move the community toward achieving its vision. Local government, business and nonprofit leaders worked with NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies to develop a plan to improve the area’s economy with a focus on arts, local food, education and high technology.

America's Best Communities logo“The committee’s goal was to put together a plan that highlighted the many great assets DeKalb has to offer,” said Jennifer Groce, director of community affairs for NIU’s Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development and a member of the DeKalb ABC organizing group. “Engagement and collaboration are among our greatest strengths, and we wanted to demonstrate how community partnerships make DeKalb attractive to business, potential students and current and future residents, and create opportunities for all in our community to grow and flourish.”

The DeKalb ABC group will travel to Durham, N.C., in late April for the America’s Best Communities Summit.

The group will present its revitalization strategy for a chance to win a $100,000 grant and to qualify for a spot among the eight communities in the competition finals

“We are ‘Proudly DeKalb,’ because our community is a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Baker said. “We’ve known this for a long time, and now a growing number of people around the country know it as well. Congratulations, DeKalb, for a strong and well-deserved dose of external validation on the national stage.”