John "Mike" Henry, Mayor
State of the City Address - December 13, 2016
Live Streaming of Council Meetings and State of the City Address
From the Mayor
The revitalization of our downtown will begin soon. First thing to be done is the relocation of the power lines to the rear of the buildings. This is a coordinated effort of the City, Ameren, Frontier Communications, Mediacom and other communication providers and should start any day now. The City will assist property owners with the relocation of utility connections to their buildings. Next will be the implementation of the new street design. This will include new sidewalks, street lights, crosswalks, landscaping, bicycle racks and works of art. We hope to have most of this finished before SIU’s move-in day and the solar Eclipse.
Speaking of the Eclipse, the City, Carbondale Tourism and SIU are continuing with coordination of efforts to ready Carbondale for up to 50,000 visitors for the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017. We are addressing Public Safety, Accommodations, Transportation/Parking and Entertainment. For more information go to www.carbondaleeclipse.com
The new entry marker on Route 13 is well underway. Construction is being funded by the City and the SIU Foundation. This will let visitors know immediately that we are the Home of Southern Illinois University. You may also have noticed the banners on light poles throughout the city that feature the City Seal and SIU. These let everyone know that we are proud of our great university and they also are an outward sign of the spirit of cooperation between the City and SIU.
It is likely that enrollment at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale will be somewhat lower again this fall. SIU is working diligently to recruit and retain high achieving students and has had some success. For example, nearly every new student in the Fall semester of 2016 returned for the Spring 2017 semester. This has not happened for quite some time and is worth noting. Retention is of significant importance in growing our enrollment. In addition to the initiatives that I have already discussed here, the City is always working to provide a safe, welcoming community for all our citizens, students included. We have a great selection of restaurants and entertainment, a thriving art community, a variety of good rental properties, local public transportation and easy access to Amtrak.
Will sprucing up our city help enrollment at SIU? Hopefully so. One thing is certain, it won’t hurt a thing. It might even encourage some folks to retire in place, right here in Carbondale. Mayors in university communities that have undertaken these initiatives indicate that these things must be done.
One last thing. The State of Illinois must pass a budget. Stop gap spending is a deplorable way to treat your citizens. We have no certainty, other than we will all be paying more state taxes with less of it coming back into our communities.
The Governor and the leaders of both houses need to put an end to this nonsense. They have slowly and surely caused near irreparable harm to the once Great State of Illinois. Our local representatives to the legislature have their hands tied - if they don’t toe the party line, they get reprimanded. Make your voices heard.
Don’t forget to vote in our local elections Tuesday, April 4th. Every vote counts.
John “Mike” Henry
City of Carbondale