Thursday, February 29, 2024

Mike's Music

 Mike's Music has moved out of its long time location in the strip on East Main where Plaza Records is located. Fear not, though, as it only moved across the parking lot into the storefront left vacant when Magickal Hippie moved out.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Big Chill Ribbon Cutting

 Wazo's Big Chill will hold a ribbon cutting on March 21st at Noon. Just reopening with a cool new sign and name was not enough. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

City Council Meeting

 Listening to the city council meeting. Democratic Socialists are pushing the council for a vote condemning the actions of Israel in Palestine> Councilman Loos just told them it is not going to happen and that they should devote their energy to something more useful, such as the upcoming proposed landlord regulations. The other council people appear to be trying to not bring it up for a vote without saying so. 

I tend to agree with Loos. Voting to condemn Israel at the city level makes about as much sense as the Saline County Board voting to make the county an immigrant sanctuary free zone.

Voting on a pay raise for the council, which has not had an increase in pay since 1998. All vote yes except Councilman Loos. The pay raise does not go into effect until May of 2025 and no council person may receive a raise during their term of office.

Meeting adjourned about 7:30


Monday, February 26, 2024

Roxanne Conley 2

 According to her family, there will be no funeral but a celebration of life later this spring. I expect to see quite a turnout for that.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Roxanne Conley

 Roxanne Conley passed away early this morning. Aside from being a fantastic wife, mother, sister and daughter, she was active in Carbondale for as long as I knew her. For the past 4+ years she was general manager of G&R Rentals. Before that, she owned Attitude Designs, the local Welcome Wagon franchise, and was the executive director of Carbondale Main Street. In addition, she served on the board of the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau and was active with the BNI WIN group. As active as she was, I have probably forgotten several of her positions in the city over the years.  If you know any I forgot, please post them in the comments.


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Pritzker's State of the State Address

 In case you want to read Gov. Pritzker's State of the State Address, here it is. The tax on groceries is a lot less regressive than the Governor makes it out to be. Wealthier people tend to spend more on groceries so the tax hits them harder than people with lower incomes. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Big Chill

 According to the sign in front, spring is just around the corner. The Big Chill reopenes for the season this Saturday, probably just in time for a deep freeze next week.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Meet the Mayor

 There is another Meet the Mayor event scheduled for 1 p.m. Tomorrow at the East Main Starbucks. Your opportunity to have the ear of the Mayor, at least for an hour.  Wonder if there will be any union activity while she is there?

Monday, February 19, 2024

Parking

 By the time the demoishing gets done, downtown Carbondale will have more parking than it will have buildings, at least south of Walnut. Carbondale and its landlords have a really bad track record of letting buildings run down to the point where it makes more financial sense to demolish the building than to rehabilitate it. Both the Tuscan Lodge and the old bank building on Washington Street come to mind

From what I have heard, the owner of the current house on Walnut getting demolished did not even wait until it had not tenants before starting the process. At least two of the apartments in the building were still occupied when the landlord told them to move as demolition would start shortly. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Houses Demolished

 A second of the 3 old foursquare style houses in the 200 block of West Walnut is getting demolished this  week. From what I have heard, Hilton has purchased the row of buildings along that bstretcy of Walnut east of University and will demolish them to add additional parking for the hotel. The buildings housing Horstman's Cleaners, SI Pawn and SewALot are scheduled for demolition as well. Not sure about the Phoenix Cycle building though and removing it without doing some damage to PKs would prove difficult.

Friday, February 16, 2024

The Strip

 Heading north along Illinois Avenue from the intersection of Grand and Illinois up to Main Street, the Strip actually looks in pretty good shape as far as occupancy. There are three empty storefronts in the area where LegalSmile and Harbaugh's Cafe are. Blocko's still sits empty and only one of the storefronts in the Evolve building is occupied. De'lish is empty as is the short lived liquor store next to Bombay Olive and the Chicago Hot Dog across the street. Art Frames and the old Phoenix Cycles location are empty but Phoenix Cycles moving into both the long vacant Petal Patch location and the newly empty Leather World fills up a couple of spots and the only other empty location is the old Sound Core spot.

The real problem, as far as empty storefronts, are the strips perpendicular to Illinois. The stretch behind Trax is completely empty, although there are reports of a rage room opening in that location. Similarly, the storefronts behind Geologic Oddities are also empty as is the Wise Guy's Pizza building adjacent to Sam's Cafe.

Maybe I have missed a few but in general, the Illinois Avenue street scape is in pretty good shape, although there does not seem to be immediate demand for those empty locations. The big problem is the side streets.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Park Survey

 The city is asking residents (and interested parties) to complete a survey regarding perception and use of the parks and other recreational facilities in the city. One focal point is the establishment of new parks and recreation spots. I indicated I would rather see the city spend its resources on maintianing and upgrading the ones already in existance before building new ones, although, given the success of Slabz Skatepark, installing an outdoor one is something the younger residents would appreciate.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

President's Day

 Just a reminder that city offices will close President's Day. That's Next Monday. Which also means trash pickup gets pushed back a day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Ashley Furrniture

 It looks as if Ashley Furniture is plannning on making Carbondale a hub. There is the main store in the Eastgate Shopping Center and the recently opend Ashley Outlet in the old Saluki Gymnastics building. Additionally, there is signage on the shuttered Ashley Furniture building on East Main indicating it is now an Ashley Furniture distribution center.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Frankie Trumbauer

 I submitted "Frankie Trumbauer Entertainment Plaza" as the name for the downtown entertainment venue. Trumbauer was born in Carbondale in 1901 and spent his career as one of the premier jazz saxaphonists of the 1920s and 1930s. His 1927 recording of "Singing the Blues" was entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1977. I thought about Robbie Stokes or Larry "Big Twist" Nolan but would really like to see part of Carbondale's early musical heritage memorialized

Friday, February 9, 2024

Preservation Commission

 Next meeting of the Preservation Commission is at 5:30 on Feb 12 at Hickory Lodge on West Sycamore. Looks like the only topic on the agenda is discussion about the creation of a Northwest Historic District. Not sure how that would play out given the amount of property SIH has purchased in the West Oak area and the willingness with which the organization is willing to raze the houses in the area. There are at least 2 blocks of empty property where houses stood 2-3 years ago.

Of course, on the flip side the owners of those houses had let them deteriorate over the years, to the point were it was likely cheaper to demolish them than to bring them up to code.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Chancellor

 Appears SIUC's chancellor is looking for new pastures as Austin Lane is a finalist for the presidency of New Mexico State University. From what I have read, his advancement to finalist rests primarily on overseeing the  first growth in SIUC's enrollment in a decade. Of course the growth was fairly small, about 400 students if I remember correctly. I would want to see a few more years of growth before giving credit to his Imagine 2023 plan. One year does not a turnaround make.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Multimodal Station

 The downtown multimodal station got the roof of one of the towers installed today. I am really looking forward to having the whole thing completed as it will add a block long two story building along Illinois. The number of one story buildings in downtown does not make the streetscape appealing. Most vital downtowns have streets lined with two story buildings, whihc have far more eye appeal tha the number of low slung buildings in downtown. That style of building is generally more modern, quickly build and found at the outskirts of town, rather in downtown.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Minor Vandalism

 Someone had rendered a good part of the bike repair station on N. Springer, in the closed Boys and Girls Club parking lot, useless. Two of the repair tools have been taken and the air hose cut off near the base, rendering the pump useless. Tools can probably be replaced pretty easily but the hose will take more work and expense. I am not sure that is a good location for the station any more. When there were lots of kids on bikes in the area, it likely got a lot of use. Now however, the area does not see much traffic and, unless the Boys and Girls Club reopens, moving it to a new location might be a good idea

Friday, February 2, 2024

Neighborhood Allinace Meeting

 Here is the agenda for tomorrow's Neighborhood Alliance meeting at the Carbondale Public Library

NEIGHBORHOOD ALLIANCE MEETING –


FEB 3 10-12 AT CARBONDALE PUBLIC LIBRary

 10-10:10   INTRO MC Karriem Shariati 

·        Welcome from mayor;

·        HRC umbrella

·        Introduce city council members, if present

o   Jeff Doherty

o   Adam Loos

o   Ginger Rye-Sanders

o   Clare Killman

o   Nancy Maxwell

o   LaCaje Hill

·        Introduce  Eva Fisher PR 


10:10-10:40  Community reports (90 seconds each)

 Black Chamber of Commerce                      Chastity Mays

Carbondale Park District                              Niki Hoesman

Carbondale Public Library                           Jennifer Robertson

Carbondale United                                      Nancy Maxwell

Center for Empowerment and Justice           Jennifer Lampkins

Green Earth                                                Stephanie Eichholz

Keep Carbondale Beautiful                          Mike Baltz

The Warming Center                                   Carmalita Cahill

The Survivor Empowerment Center             Laura Van Abbema

The Rainbow CafĂ© AND                             

the Litter Resource Center                  Claire Hughes

Arbor District                                              Pheral Lamb

Other submitted announcements                  Sarah Heyer

 10:40-11:00  Updates from last year:  (4 minutes each; Q&A after 12)

          Gun violence > Dianah McGreehan

          Heat islands – Kelsey Bowe

          Community development – John Lenzini

          Comprehensive Plan process – Molly Maxwell

          Emergency Management – Ryan Hall (E M Coordinator)

 11:00-11:05 – stand up and stretch in place

11:05-11:10 – Gayle Klam introduces

11:10-11:30 – Energy Sovereignty - Lauren Becker 

11:30-11:55 – Q&A on Energy Sovereignty

11:55-12:00 – Closing

SIUC Attendance

 10525 students at SIUC this Spring, up just over 400 from last year. Student numbers, at least the ones the administration wants to report, are up across the board. Of course, that is still waaaaay down from the 25,000 peak back in the early 1990s.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Water Leak

 From what I have heard, the Carbondale water system has a crack somewhere. A few thousand gallons of water a day are leaking out, causing the Carbondale water towers to empty and necessitating running the water plant 24 hours a day to refill them. Unfortunately no household meter is showing any exceptional amount of water use so the city is looking for water draining into a stream or forming a pond somewher. If you happen to notice water where it normally is not, the city would likely appreciate you contacting them.