Thursday, February 20, 2003

Urban Trendz moves to trendier urb

Not that it was an "anchor" business or anything, but the hip-hop boutique has abandoned its digs in downtown Carbondale to move to Murphysboro. McNeill's Jewelry under the green awning, has also closed shop. The economic fallout from the city of Carbondale's redevelopment plans in the 1980's continues.

What next? Will Gusto's (next door McNeill's) move to Desoto? Kaleidoscope to Colp? Not if Notworthy Communications recently approved plan to downtown redevelopment is followed through by everyone concerned (are you listening, City Manager Jeff Doherty? I know we haven't met, but people say that you are the man to talk to.) When I say "approved" I mean by a handful of business people downtown, not by anyone official or anything.

Recently, Notworthy held high-level meetings with High Hill Business Development in North Park, Illinois about inviting a number of Chicago-area businesses to visit Carbondale with an eye on developing it into a "taste of Chicago" strip, featuring international restaurants and one or two non-mall anchor stores.

Although wise business heads advise that downtown is inexorably moribund, unless the city comes up with a better plan (none--correct me if i'm wrong) than it currently has to attract new and permanent businesses, I remain optimistic for an economic turnaround, the like of which has not been seen in a university town like Carbondale before (because no other university town has been so decimated by its government before. The devastation has been unprecedented.)

Can't you see a Thai Restaurant there, where McNeill's used to be? How about a postal annex? What ideas do you have for empty storefronts on the strip? Winning entries will receive a complimentary dinner to Thai One On, The Prawn Shop, or Hummus Where the Heart Is restaurants, if any of them ever come into existence.