Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hilton

The Hilton is slowly coming along. My guess is they will get it open sometime in late July or early August, about a year after the original projected date. Both it and Evolve will do a fine job of sticking out like sore thumbs among the much lower buildings that comprise the rest of the downtown area  From what I understand, under the new standards for downtown development, I gather neither building would be approved. However, given that the city really wants development in downtown, I would also bet that both projects would receive a waiver if they had asked for one. After all, both bring quite a few people to stay in the downtown area, Evolve for semesters at a time and the Hilton for several nights.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

S. Illinois Streetscape

The city has started work on the S. Illinois Streetscape project. I see a couple of the larger trees along the street have been cut down, I assume in order to make way for the newly redesigned sidewalks coming into place.

Incidentally, I have heard people complaining about the "wall" that now parallels the sidewalk after the street redesign and people's complaints about how difficult it is to step over. From my understanding, the divider was put into place in order to comply with ADA requirements, so that it is harder for people to go off the sidewalk. It also decreases the gradient of the sidewalk as well, reducing the slope on hills. If the city put steps or a break in the divider in order to make it easier for people to get from their cars to the sidewalk, in order to comply with ADA requirements, a ramp would have to be installed as well. Apparently, any new steps put in also have to have complimentary wheelchair accessibility and a ramp suitable for wheelchairs would stretch out some 16 feet.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Liquor Advisory Board

So can the city get rid of the Liquor Advisory Board now? since it will no longer review  liquor license applications, which was its primary function, there seems no good reason to keep the Board in place as its functions will be limited to, according to the article, "Other changes included new language that says the advisory board may be allowed to review new liquor applications if the licensee requests additional help in preparing their application. The board will also be involved in reviewing and making recommendations to the full board on renewal applications."

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day

As you probably know, Memorial Day is a major event here in Carbondale. This year's festivities take place at 10 a.m. on Monday in Woodlawn Cemetary (of course).   From the city:

The Memorial Day Sesquicentennial Service will be held on Monday, May 28, at the historic Woodlawn Cemetery, located at 405 E. Main Street in Carbondale.

Civil War historian Gary Ecelbarger will be the keynote speaker at this year’s event. He has written multiple books, including The Great Comeback: How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to Win the 1860 Republican Nomination and biographies of Civil War generals “Black Jack” Logan and Fredrick W. Lander.

Other participants include Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry, storyteller Brian Ellis, the Red Bank Reunion Band and members of the Carbondale Fire and Police Honor Guard.

The service will begin at 10 a.m. and will be held regardless of inclement weather. Seating is limited, so you are encouraged to arrive early. Parking is available at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, Wendy’s, Bandana’s Bar-B-Q, Popeyes, Walgreens, First Southern Bank and Fastenal.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Incentive Areas

Carbondale city government announced the governor has approved 3 low income incentive areas for the city.  Nice to have but doubt if they will have much effect. From what I have read, and others with more experience are certainly welcome to chime in, TIF and similar tax reduction districts do little to actually attract business into a low income area 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Streetscape

The second phase of the S. Illinois Ave. streetscape project is scheduled to start this Tuesday with completion scheduled for August 10. This phase of the project will work on the blocks of S. Illinois between West Cherry (just south of the Varsity Theater) to West Monroe (north side of the Civic Center).  No eclipse this year to drive the deadline but there is a substantial non-completion penalty if substantially all of the project is not finished by the 10th.

Friday, May 18, 2018

South End

With 710 Bookstore moving over on East Grand, that leaves quite a few empty spaces at the south end of the Strip. The set of shops above Trax is empty, the strip where Printing Plant used to be is half empty and now the block at the south end is half empty as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Water Supply

One of the benefits of the city having its own water supply is that we don't rely on Rend Lake like many of the surrounding communities do. If you remember, there was quite a bit of controversy over Mayor Cole's proposal to privatize the city water system  during his administration. From the city:

 Carbondale residents are not impacted by the recent water main break at the Rend Lake Conservancy District.

If residents in surrounding communities are in need of water, the City has a bulk fill station at the Water Treatment Plant, located at 2401 S. McLafferty Road.

If you have questions or would like more information about the bulk fill station, call the City of Carbondale Water Treatment Plant at (618) 457-3241 or the 24-hour hotline at (618) 529-1731.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Casper Passes Away

In case you missed it, the Bookworm's cat, Casper, passed away just days after the store closed this past weekend. According to the post on Facebook, Casper had appeared in the store parking lot about 15 years ago and soon settled into his position as the store mascot.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Screenprinter

On the heels of the departing hair salon on West Main, it looks as if there is a Screenprinting shop opening in the empty space next door. Used to be a tattoo parlor if I recall correctly.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Hair Salon Gone

The little hair salon that opened up in the 100 block of west Walnut, behind Phoenix Cycle, has shut down and cleared out the space. It wasn't there long enough for me to even notice what the name of the place was. Saw it open a few times but not consistently. Hopefully, the owners found a different location at which to open.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Econo Lodge

Due to continued incidents of flooding, the city wants to tear down the Econo Lodge (formerly known as University Inn and Days' Inn) and replace it with green space. If the grant from the state is approved, the city would purchase the property for about $800,000, demolish it and return it to open space. It appears the motel sits in the flood plain for Piles Fork Creek and there is no way to prevent the parking area and first floor of the building when the creek overflows its banks, which happened almost never when I first moved here but has happened several times since the turn of the century. In recent years, the Econo Lodge has shifted from providing rooms to visitors to Carbondale to offering weekly or monthly rentals.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Halloween

Given city council's embracing of Halloween this year, (you can submit your festival logos here), I wonder if the local media will retire their film clips and photos of Halloween riots past? If  a discussion of  Halloween in Carbondale makes the local news media, you can bet it will come accompanied by videos and photos of Halloween crowds the city hasn't seen since the mid 1990s. Case in point, this recent article in the Southern. To be fair, the focus of the article was the party school image the university had during its heyday in the early 1990s, but still, similar photos appear every time a story about bringing back Halloween appears.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

city Council Meeting--Food Trucks

City Council meets tonight. Main item on the agenda appears a look at the ordinances regarding food trucks in the city and possibly relaxing them. Last year a dozen operated in the city and apparently enough more want to operate that council is considering making it easier for them to do so. More options are good, as long as all of them don't offer variations on the same thing.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Did Losing the Party School Image Cut Enrollment?

Front page story in yesterday's Southern asking  if losing its party school image contributed to the decline in enrollment. Unfortunately, posing the question and only asking 2 people for their opinion doesn't really give an answer to the question.

Omar's Food Mart

Looks as if the old Veach's Short Stop behind University Mall is getting remodeled into Omar's Food Mart. Likely planning to serve the residents living in the area behind University Mall. Not a great location for a gas station though, as drivers have to get off of eastbound 13 onto old 13 and go through a stop sign to get to it. Hopefully, food sales will prove strong enough to keep the place in business.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Freecycle

If you are looking to clear stuff out of your house, the Freecycle exchange returns to Carbondale at the end of the month:

Anyone looking to downsize or just clear clutter is invited to bring items (in good condition) that are no longer needed to a Freecycle Exchange at Gaia House, 913 S Illinois Avenue.  And anyone looking for household goods or clothing can come and browse and help themselves. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May 24 - 26, between the hours of noon and 8 pm, the doors will be open for people to drop off or pick up re-usable items. At the end of the week, the Freecycle Exchange will close and all remaining items will be donated to the Thrift Shop at 215 N Illinois.

For more information on the Freecycle Exchange, call the Gaia House at 618-549-7387; Keep Carbondale Beautiful can be reached at 618 525-5525 or keepcb1326@gmail.com.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Carbondale After Dark

A third edition of the history of 1960s and 70s Carbondale is now available, with three additional chapters.  The 1982 1st edition has come down in price significantly since the printing of the 2nd edition since I remember seeing the original commanding upwards of $70 for a copy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Graffiti



Vandals were busy about 4 a.m. this morning in Pickle's Alley, the alley that runs north and south from the Civic Center.  Got the Verizon building, the Castle Perilous building and a dumster further north.  Turned over video of the two men to the police