The Arbor District Neighborhood Association asked the four City Council candidates to respond to 16 questions. I compiled their responses here. Read the rest of this entry »
Thank you for your support!
Carbondale is a college town; it is the gateway to the Shawnee Hills with its thriving wine industry, magnificent and varied natural areas, and cultural and historic riches that welcome locals and visitors alike. It has a remarkably talented, energetic, and engaged citizenry. It must create an environment that attracts university students and their families. Like the period when SIU was growing, it must again become a city in which young families, established professionals, and retirees make their homes. With a highly educated citizenry, it should be a city in which creative, dynamic entrepreneurs and technology intensive manufacturers establish their businesses. Unfortunately years of neglect of our neighborhoods and main business districts are eroding our community and undermining our potential.
It is time to renew Carbondale's neighborhoods and business districts.
Most of the housing stock and business properties in Carbondale were built before 1970. There is tremendous capital locked up in these older neighborhoods and businesses – capital that can be realized by reinvestment. Houses built with dimensional lumber cannot be replicated. We found stunning plaster work by a famed plasterer in a modest 1952 ranch house we renovated. Other architectural gems are often overlaid by cheap paneling and other modifications. But they can be restored, creating desirable homes and professional offices close to the major employers, Memorial Hospital and SIU, as well as Downtown and the Illinois 13 – US 51 arteries. Many of our current tax and code policies discourage renovation and restoration. Consequently, home and business owners see absentee-owned properties deteriorate around them and their property values decline.
We need to revise City regulations and taxes to promote reinvestment in our neighborhoods and commercial core.
An active, engaged, entrepreneurial citizenry must be the heart of Carbondale. We must engage the City's major employers, the University and Hospital, along with the schools and businesses, as partners in bringing new vitality to the City. We need to encourage a diversified economy, where inventors can commercialize their patents and where small enterprises can flourish. Our strengths lie in our highly educated and highly skilled population. Carbondale is a regional destination not only for shopping and sports, but also for intellectual and cultural activities. We must energize our enormous cultural capital.
Carbondale should be a beautiful city that attracts people to invest their hopes and dreams.