Donald D. Monty, Mayor
State of the City Address - December 10, 2013 by (Former Mayor Joel Fritzler)
From the Mayor
Mayor’s Corner—June 2014
The long, cold winter seems a distant past. Now we all comment about the summer heat and humidity. Like many people, I fantasize about every day being in the mid- to upper-seventies with clear skies, low humidity and a mild breeze. Rain would only fall gently at night with just the right amount to keep the grass green, gardens healthy and lakes full. But we don’t live in a fantasy world and we have to realize that not everything is under our control. One thing we can control is how we spend our leisure time.
There are many things to do in Carbondale during the summer and into the fall. There are baseball and softball games. Youth soccer starts in the late summer and goes into the fall. The Carbondale Public Library offers many programs; and, of course, there are books and videos that can be checked out. Indoor swimming is available at the Life Community Center. The City’s beach at Cedar Lake is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Cedar Lake is a great place for fishing and boating (canoes, kayaks, and boats with less than 10 hp. motors), and there are many hiking trails around the lake. Green Earth has several locations in and near the City for hiking and nature study. Golf enthusiasts can take advantage of the Park District’s Hickory Ridge Golf Course. The Carbondale Park District offers a wide variety of programs for youth and adults in addition to those listed above. The Park District has several parks scattered around Carbondale with picnic shelters and playground equipment. The largest is Evergreen Park at the old City Reservoir. Campus Lake at SIUC is another place for fishing and exercising or just enjoying nature. The SIUC Student Recreation Center offers a full range of recreational opportunities at its pool, gyms, and special rooms throughout the summer as well as during the school year. There are many special “summer camps” offered at SIUC for youth. Some are athletic; others are academic.
Carbondale has four museums. The Science Center at the University Mall directs most of its programs to children, but adults can learn there also. The African-American Museum is also in the University Mall. This museum has information about the rich history and culture of African-Americans in Carbondale and southern Illinois and offers many special programs. Station Carbondale’s Railroad Museum is located in the Old Carbondale Depot in the center of the city. For many years, Carbondale was a “railroad town,” and that rich history is on display at this museum. There is even an opportunity for a hands-on examination of a diesel locomotive and caboose. The largest museum in town is the Southern Illinois University Museum located at the north end of Faner Hall. This museum has extensive collections. There are always displays of art and items of historical interest. Several times each year there are new special exhibitions. Although not a museum, the main hallway in the City Hall/Civic Center always has art exhibits curated by Carbondale Community Arts. These exhibits are changed frequently and display the works of local artists.
A description of summer activities has to include the Sunset Concert Series. This program on seven Thursday evenings provides a wide range of popular music. The concerts alternate between Turley Park and SIUC. An early summer activity is the Southern Illinois Music Festival. This features an orchestra and smaller ensembles performing classical music and is offered at several venues in Carbondale and around southern Illinois. Each year the McLeod Summer Playhouse offers a series of plays at McLeod Theater in the SIUC Communications building. One of the plays features talented young actors from southern Illinois schools. The Varsity Center for the Arts on South Illinois Avenue hosts various events. The Stage Company annually stages plays at the Varsity Center for the Arts including one offered during the summer. Other popular events include the Brown Bag Concerts at noon on Wednesday’s at the Town Square Pavilion, and the Friday Night Fairs at the Town Square. Both of these events are sponsored by Carbondale Main Street and take a break for a couple months in the hottest time of the summer.
There are also many commercial entertainment venues available in the City. A roller skating rink is at the east edge of the City along Route 13. There are at least 16 motion picture screens showing a wide range of movies. Several bars and restaurants offer live music. Some have outside beer gardens. And if you want to include dining with your day or evening of activities, there are many restaurants, both chain and local, available in Carbondale. It would take several more paragraphs to describe all the great dining opportunities in Carbondale.
If you are in Carbondale for the summer, I encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities available to you. If you are new to the city, welcome to Carbondale. Look around and see what the community has to offer. Carbondale is not a boring place!