Friday, June 17, 2016

Update on Carbondale Community Forum

The city just sent out the below about progress on items brought up during last April's community forum meeting:

On April 21, 2016, the City of Carbondale hosted a community forum that was attended by over 170 people. The intent of the forum was to allow the public to present ideas as to how we can make Carbondale a safer and more welcoming community. Six key ideas were developed at the meeting that include enacting a nuisance ordinance; increasing police foot patrols; changing the mindset of Carbondale youth; improving lighting in the community; increasing landlord communication; and expanding outreach to SIU. In the weeks following the forum, the City of Carbondale has been working with community leaders to address these goals and provide the following updates:

·        Enact a Nuisance Ordinance – Carbondale Police have reviewed numerous ordinances from similar communities and have completed a first draft of an ordinance for Carbondale.  City staff has begun reviewing the ordinance and are meeting weekly to refine and prepare the final language to present to City Council.  Tentatively, staff will present a nuisance ordinance to Council at the August 9th Council meeting.

·        Increase Foot Patrols – On June 1, 2016, the City of Carbondale Police Department (CPD) and the SIU Department of Public Safety (DPS) formed a joint Neighborhood Patrol Program. As part of a long standing, ongoing cooperative effort between the two agencies, officers from CPD will be partnered with officers from SIU DPS to patrol Downtown Carbondale and the densely populated student neighborhoods within the Arbor District and along Grand Avenue. These patrols pair officers in motor vehicles while also placing high emphasis on directed foot patrols in the neighborhoods which border campus. 

·        Change Mindset of Carbondale Youth – Youth are most at-risk of being involved in a crime between the hours of 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Providing safe venues for kids during these times, coupled with programming to enhance character development, increases a youth’s chances for success. As such, the City is working with the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale (BGCC) and other community stakeholders to develop additional programming opportunities at the BGCC that could begin as early as September.

·        Improve Lighting in the Community – City staff has surveyed existing lighting in the neighborhoods bordering campus; specifically the area bound by Mill Street, Poplar Street, Walnut Street, and University Avenue.  Lighting deficiencies have been identified and City staff is currently working with Ameren to develop a schedule to make the necessary lighting additions.

·        Increase Landlord Communication – Carbondale Police maintain active and ongoing communications with landlords, as well as the Building and Neighborhood Services department, to share knowledge of problem tenants and “party houses”.  Over the next several months, the City will explore new strategies to enhance communication between landlords and to better notify them of problem tenants.

·        Expand Outreach to SIU – The City of Carbondale meets regularly with SIU administration and is always considering new ways to share community information with faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

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