Monday, February 29, 2016

Wanna Hotel?

The city is looking for someone to develop, but first demolish, the old Horizon Inn/Holiday Inn property on East Main:

The City of Carbondale is soliciting requests for proposals (RFP) for redevelopment of a 7.71 acre tract of land that is located at 800 East Main Street within the corporate limits of Carbondale. This property was formerly the Holiday Inn/Horizon Inn and consists of two, 2-story masonry buildings, totaling approximately 120,000 square feet. This property is located just west of Carbondale’s primary retail corridor and is zoned Secondary Business (SB). The property is located in the Jackson County Enterprise Zone which qualifies it for real estate and sales tax abatements for new construction. It is the desire of the City of Carbondale to partner with a developer that has both the experience and financial capacity to develop the site into a premier, high-quality commercial development.

Formal development proposals for the project are being solicited with the deadline for formal submission of proposals by April 15, 2016. Interested developers can obtain a copy of the RFP along with a “Developer Packet” from the City Manager’s office at Carbondale City Hall, 200 S. Illinois Avenue. The basis of this RFP is to provide potential developers with specific information regarding the project, pertinent community data, an outline of the format for proposals, and process for reviewing and selecting a development team to work directly with the City in undertaking this project. The City of Carbondale’s intention is to select the proposal that best addresses the needs of the community, meets the criteria as set forth in this RFP, and is most consistent with the overall development goals and Comprehensive Plan of the City. The City will enter into an agreement to sell the property to the most qualified developer. Proposals that offer the greatest economic potential to the community will receive priority consideration.

Development Objectives:
The objectives that the City of Carbondale seeks to achieve from this project include the following:

¨ Convey the property to a developer for the purpose of developing a high-quality, commercial development
that will complement Carbondale’s existing business community and be a major generator of real estate and
sales tax revenue. The Developer will be required to demolish the existing buildings and remove all
wreckage from the property within 180 days following conveyance of the property.
¨ Development of a project that is consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and reflective of the overall
character of the Carbondale community.
¨ Project that will exceed the City’s requirements of incorporating landscaping and green space as an integral
element of the development.
¨ Development should be designed and built in a manner that will serve to spur additional development of
adjoining properties.

Evaluation of Proposals / Selection of Developer for Project :
It is the intent of the City of Carbondale to select the proposal that best addresses the objectives as outlined in
this RFP and negotiate with a developer to determine that the proposed project is financially feasible and
capable of being completed. The following factors and criteria will be considered in evaluating proposals
submitted by developers for this project:

1. Experience of the individuals / developers and capacity to successfully complete the project. The developer
should have an established track record of commercial development and experience in being involved in
similar commercial redevelopment projects.
2. The overall scope of the project and proposed best use of the property.
3. Creativity in design and ability to integrate good planning techniques.
4. Local funds that the project will generate back to the City via sales tax, property tax, etc. Proposals that
offer the greatest economic potential and fiscal benefit to the City, and those meeting and exceeding the
development objectives as outlined in the RFP will receive priority consideration.
5. Purchase price of the property as offered by the developer and timeliness to demolish existing buildings.
6. Ability of development team to proceed with project in a timely manner.
7. Project is compatible and consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and local ordinances.
8. Potential of the project to spur additional investments, enhancing economic impact for the community.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Downtown Hilton

Though nothing is certain until the ground is broken, dates I have heard indicate we should see construction start on the new downtown Hilton around the end of March or early April. Meanwhile, construction on the new parking lot across the street continues apace. Will certainly be interesting to see what happened when it opens, especially with the location next to PK's.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spring Coming

In a sure sign that spring will soon arrive, the downtown Dairy Queen will open this Saturday.  Soon, people will perch on the low wall enjoying shakes and cones once again.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Food Trucks

Given that the city council voted to OK food trucks on public property at last night's meeting, will we get swamped with them? I would be not, at least not on the town square, whcih appeared the major point of concern when voting on the ordinance.

The town square just doesn't have the concentration of population needed to sustain a food truck, which by their very nature need heavy pedestrian traffic in order to stay in business. Consider the Strip, or S. Illinois depending on how well you know Carbonale. During the Strip's heyday in the 1990s, foot traffic at night could support up to 4 transient food stands within a two block stretch. Winston's Bagels held out for long after the others departed but eventually even he moved to a more lucrative location on East Grand.

Food trucks will do well if they can locate near Memorial Hospital, giving staff there a convenient option to on-premises dining, near the clinics on the west side of town, or close to campus, as students are always looking for another dining option. Any place else just doesn't have the concentration of population needed to support a food truck.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Proposed Shawnee Projects

This is interesting, a Forest Service  list of proposed projects for the Shawnee National Forest. One of them especially close to Carbondale is a proposal to stabilize gullies along tributaries to Cedar Lake, Lake Kinkade and Lake of Egypty

Friday, February 19, 2016

Obama Holiday

A group of House Democrats are proposing Obama's birthday as a (paid) state holiday. Passing it would make it the 13 holiday recognized by the state as a paid day off for state employees. How about you legislators get the state budget balanced first before figuring out new ways to spend tax money? Of course, if Rep Thapedi can come up with the money to cover the cost of the holiday, then go right ahead.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Local Historic Registry

In case you have an afternoon free sometime, here is a map of all the spots currently listed on Carbondale's Register of Historic Places. Note that spot 10, the Tuscan Lodge, got demolished several years ago as the structure deteriorated and the owners did not have the estimated multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars need to rehab the structure. A community garden now occupies part of the space.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

No Name Road

Atlas Obscura has the scoop on how No Name Road off Giant City Road got its (no) name.

Snow Removal

I have to admit, the city and state were right on top of snow removal this time. Thank goodness we didn't get much but I saw trucks out almost immediately.

It does get bemusing though how people handle snow in this area. Any threat of snow and milk, eggs and bread all vanish from the store shelves. One would think we were going to get snowed in for a month, instead of just a couple of days maximum.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

More Video Gaming Parlours

The Lab approved 2 more B3 liquor licenses for video gaming locations in Carbondale at its Thursday night meeting, both on the west side of Carbondale, one in the plaza where Tequila's is located and the other back behind Jane's Consignment Shop. That brings the total to 4 stand alone gaming parlours and at least 2 more locations that have video gaming machines set up. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Carbondale Bike Plan

Still working to make Carbondale a bike friendly city. Doing something with the bike lanes that begin and end in the middle on the block on Main would help, as would sharrows on several streets such as Poplar. Marking bike routes that avoid Main and Walnut would be good. I get worried someone will get hit every time I see a bicyclist, especially a bad one, on either of those two streets. 

SBDC May Close

SIUC's Small Business Development Center may close March 31 as a result of Illinois budget kerfluffle, which would be quite ironic given the business orientation of our current governor.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Intermodal Transport Hub Follow-up

An email I received indicates that the proposed plan for the graded area north of the Amtrak station is as a parking lot to replace the one lost when the new Hilton hotel gets built on the parking area just south of P. K.s. Later, when the city finds funding for the proposed intermodal complex, the parking area gets incorporated into it.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Intermodal Transport Hub

The plans for the proposed intermodal transport hub may be moving along a bit as some work has been done leveling and clearing the spack north of the Amtrak station, where Animal Crackers/ T. J. McFlys, /Golden Galleon stood for a number of years before getting demolished a few years ago. The plan is to move the bus depot to this area again, as well as provide pick-up/drop-off spots for the town's taxi services. Ideally, even Enterprise would move its offices to the spot,as would the various area transit services, providing a convenient location for all public transit within the community.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Kevin Graham Services

From an email sent out by the Arbor District:

Kevin Joseph Graham, 53, beloved father, life partner, son and brother, of Carbondale passed away on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at the Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.

Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, February 6, 2016 at Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale with burial in Oakland Cemetery. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.  A memorial at Lake County IL will be arranged at a later date.

Memorials are the preferred form of remembrance and can be made to Ivy Graham's college fund in care of Susan Mullen.
You can read more details here:

Design Gallery Closing

Following on the announcement of the closing of the Carbondale Great Outdoors location, the Design Gallery has a sign in its window announcing its closing due to the owner's retirement.  I think this will create the empty storefront on the square in recent memory.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Polar Bear Results

No idea what the results of the party were and if it lived up to past Polar Bears. I did have one attendee who drove over from Cape Girardeau tell me they though it was taming than what they had been led to expect and that police and medical personnel were not set up across the street in the Pinch Penny Liquors parking lot as they had done in past years.

The police report for the weekend indicates a somewhat tamer event as well with  fewer people arrested for underage and public possession, about 15% less than last year. though the number of aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon appear up from last year.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Great Outdoors Closing

No, the Shawnee National Forest is not shutting down because of budget cuts. However, The Great Outdoors sporting goods store, located on North Giant City Road will close, likely sometime later this month.  I received a letter announcing this yesterday and the official announcement should  appear, according to the letter, around February 10th.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Downtown Master Plan

Open house to discuss the Carbondale Downtown Master Plan Tuesday night at the Civic Center 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in room 108. Chock full of good ideas, but the question is how well, if at all, will they be executed. One thing I would like to see is greater enforcement of building codes and standards. Carbondale landlords have a bad habit of letting unrentable buildings deteriorate to such a state that it becomes more cost effective to tear them down rather than to rehabilitate them, leaving downtown with lots of open space around the square.