Sunday, December 19, 2010

The More Things Change..

I've been reading through Carbondale: A Pictorial History by Betsy Mitchell, published back in 1991 (reprinted in 2001). This passage, describing the Carbondale of 1990, could just as easily depict the Carbondale of today:

Many long established businesses have moved from the square to the new outlying shopping areas and many of the early (downtown) buildings have been demolished. The population increased hardly at all form 1980 to 1990. The community seems to have settled into a peaceful co-existence with the University, with commercialism, in spite of efforts to bring in industry, primarily centering around the medical profession and the retail trade. In fact, most of the growth of the 1980s was in these two areas.

As WSIU's recent interviews with the mayoral candidates indicate, Carbondale still sees its growth coming from the medical area and chain retailers such as T. J. Maxx, Chilis, and Party City. It's an unfortunate commentary on the city's economic base that Carbondale still depends on the same wealth drivers that supported it 25 years ago.

1 comment:

  1. And with that said, Carbondale is lucky to have whatever it does have. Many communities in the midwest are ghost towns or have lost their entire economic base and would kill for what Carbondale has. Things could always be better, but compared to most, Carbondale rocks. We should consider ourselves lucky and be grateful that we still have something in which we can grow from and we have a very active community that cares about the city and it's future. For many communities, it was easier to move on to greener pastures and forget about the places of our past. Carbondale has a bright future that can only be realized if we the citizens fight for it and not give up. Compared to 25 years ago, Carbondale might not be what people imagined, but it hasn't been completely stagnant either. One only has to travel a few hundred miles in any direction to see the effects of this economic downturn, even in cities we consider prosperous.