Wednesday, February 27, 2013

219 West Main

Not sure what is going on at the old K&M copies building.  Cheatham  Masonry performed some extensive repairs to the facade but bricks are still  coming off the rear of the building.  Lights come on in the front first floor area for a couple of days then go off again.

I have heard several people have looked at the building for possible rental or purchase but the lack of parking is a major factor weighing against any business locating there. The city warning sign is still posted to the front door and the sidewalk remained uncleared during the last snow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sales Leakage

Sat in on an interesting presentation by Susan Odam (sp?) from the University of Illinois Extension office.  One of the striking figures she presented from research she had done is that demand for retail products in the sixteen county southern Illinois region totals about $2.5 billion per year.   The supply, however, only totals $2.246 billion, meaning that people have to shop outside the region for about $254 million per year.  This "sales leakage",  as she called it, reflects unsatisfied demand for goods within our region.  the problem is, of course, what goods is there more demand than supply for?

Interestingly, her research showed demand for food totaling $334 million, while supply totaled $381 million.  This means the region produces more food, cumulatively than residents can consume, meaning it either gets sold outside the region or disposed of by some other method.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sign Ordiances

Found this rather interesting.  According to Carbondale city ordinances, if a sign promoting your event or business is posted illegally, the fact that your business or event is mentioned on the sign is taken as evidence that you did it.  From the ordinance:

When any handbill, sign, poster, advertisement, notice or document of any kind shall be found posted, painted, printed, nailed or otherwise affixed upon any curbstone, curb, sidewalk, street, or other public property or upon any tree, lamp, telephone pole, or other fixture located thereon, or upon any private building or structure, the finding of such shall be prima facie evidence that it was affixed by the person or agency advertised within the document or advertisement. (Ord. 98-41)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy Hour?

State law prevents restaurants and bars in Illinois from hosting "Happy Hours" so was mildly surprised to the the C'dale Houlihan's promoting one.  It appears though that "Happy Day" just doesn't have the same resonance as Happy Hour for drinks though as the drink specials are day long but the appetizer specials are only good from 4-6.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Wendy's

Looks as if the new Wendy's is open on East Walnut. That got put together really quickly. Of course, it does leave an empty shell of a building there looking for a tenant.  That section of East Walnut used to play home to several fast food restaurants, all located within one block of each other, Popeye's, Taco Bell and another whose name escapes me.  Used to sit where the O"Reilly's Automotive stands now.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Proposed zoning revisions.

Lots of proposed revisions to the zoning orndiances.  Here are the 28 pages of them if you would like to look them over. City council will discuss thaem starting at 6 p.m. this evening.

Monday, February 18, 2013

City Council Race

In the race for the three open seats on the Carbondale City Council, Yard signs for Navreet Kang and Jerrold Hennrich have been out for a couple of months now.  Brnet Ritzel put out triple the number of the other two a week or so ago and I just spotted the first Jessica Bradshaw sign over the weekend.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Liquor Code Changes?

Caught this in the Southern today. The change to the liquor laws allowing wine tastings at farmer's markets and microbreweries and distilleries to sell their product without having to have a certain percentage of food sales makes sense.  Any wine tastings at farmer's markets would have to abide by the same regulations as tastings conducted on the winery's own premises so I assume they would check IDs before allowing samples.

Eliminating the food requirement from microbreweries and distilleries also makes sense as the current requirement for a class A license requires them to shift focus to food preparation, not their area of specialization.  None of the other classes of liquor licenses fit microbrewers and distillers, which sell both by the drink and by the package.  Rewiting the Class H license to include them makes sense and would allow the city to encourage the development of a fast growing segment of the industry.   We already have a number of top drawer wineries in the area, let's encourage some high quality microbrewers as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Looks like the break-ins on the near northwest side have resumed. From the C'dale Police website:

On 02-10-13 the City of Carbondale Police Department responded to a residence in the 600 block of North Allyn Street in reference to a report of a residential burglary. Officers learned an unknown suspect entered the locked residence and stole property sometime prior to 10:00 a.m. on 02-10-2013. The investigation into the incident is continuing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How Rich Is Your Neighborhood

This website shows the median income for various sections of the selected community.  The closer you get to the Carbondale city core, the more the income drops.  The median for the area south of Hwy 13 and on either side of Hwy 51 varies from about $14,000 to $16,000, then jumps to about $33,000 on the north side of Hwy 51, while if you look at the suburbs on the south side of town, the media income increases to about $60,000.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Funding Requests

It's time for the annual requests for funding from the city by local civic organizations.  Funding will not be approved at this Tuesday's meeting, but organizations may make pitches to the council and the council members will discuss the various solicitations.  The only change the city staff recommended was to cut the Boys and Girls Club's request for $32,000 back to the 2012 grant of $30,000.

There are two unsolicited requests, one from the Varsity Center for the Arts for $30,000 to assist with the cost of repairs from sewer backup damage to the property and to replace drains in both theaters and install a protective seal on the front lobby doors to protect the building from future water damage.  The building does have drainage problems during heavy storms, due to its position at the bottom of a low hill, leading to flooding during periods of heavy rain.

Attucks Community Services is requesting $153,883 to help fund its program of youth and community programs.  This amounts to almost as much as the combined requests of all the organizations solicited by the city:  $188,150.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fisher Conviction Reversed

Henry Fisher's 2001 conviction of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child was reversed 1/30/2013. If you are interested in reading it, here is the court's decision.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

El Greco and La Fogata

Passed by the El Greco's location this evening and still a closed sign on the door.  Looks as if they might be doing some inside cleaning though, as the chairs are all piled up.  Across the street, La Fogata's is open in the old Evelyn's Restaurant location, advertising "Super Burritos" aka "burritos as big as your head", but they cannot say that because of trademark infringement.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bike Path Grant

The city announced the receipt of a grant of almost $330,000 to go toward the construction of the planned bike path from the SIUC campus to the town square:

This grant will be used for the first phase of construction of the planned downtown bicycle and pedestrian pathway.  The path will run from the SIU campus, just south of Grand Avenue, along the east side of the Canadian National Railway tracks to the Town Square, just north of Main Street. Funds from this grant are designated for the main section of the pathway from Mill Street to Main Street.

Mayor Fritzler stated, “I want to thank Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Transportation for seeing the value of this project.  Once completed, this new pathway will be a great addition to the downtown for the residents and visitors of Carbondale.  The development of this bike path linking the SIU campus to downtown businesses and neighborhoods will improve the accessibility of both Carbondale’s residents and SIU’s students.  In addition, this new pathway will encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles by providing a safe place to walk, jog, and bike within the center of town. It is our vision that this new pathway will set the standard and be the hub for future interconnecting pathways throughout the City.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation received applications for 328 projects. Carbondale was the only community to receive a grant from IDOT’s District 9 which encompasses the 16 southernmost counties of Southern Illinois.

This amount almost totals the  $500,000 expected to come from the sales tax enacted by the city several years ago that also funds the bonds for the public safety center and the new fire station, as well as the university's Saluki Way project.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

American Tap Incentives

The Southern reports that the city is offering incentives to any one who will purchase and develop the old American Tap location at 518 Illinois.  Incentives include, aside from those provided by the TIF district, a limited amount of free permit parking and waiver of tap fees for utilities.  The city has also indicated flexibility on price.  Originally, the city paid $150,000 for the property, appraised at the time for $39,000.  The rationale given at the time for paying over triple the value of the property was to avoid a lengthly condemnation process and quickly remove the deteriorating American Tap building from the downtown streetscape, since apparently the fact it was in violation of a number of safety ordinances was not enough to get the owner at the time cited.

Originally, the city wanted enough for the property to recoup the demolition and purchase price and thought it had several interested parties at least back in 2009.  Nothing came of them though and I think the price is now in the neighborhood of $30,000.  From what I understand, El Greco contacted the city a few years ago about purchasing the property for an outdoor patio but the city held out (and still wants) an actual building there. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Building Repairs

Noticed repair work earlier this week on the crumbling facade of the old K&M Copies building at 219 West Main St.  Cheatam Masonry did some extensive rebuilding on the front corner of the building, the bricks of which has started to bow outward from age.  The top of the back end of the building still needs quite a bit of repair, at least as far as my inexperienced eyes can tell, since it look like several bricks have separated from the facade up there.