Alright, downtown Carbondale isn't paradise, but a couple of decades ago, it had shops and other community service facilities located conveniently downtown: a post office, a supermarket, an auto supply store, both men and women's clothing stores, an outdoor supply place, two jeweler's, two record stores, a Ben Franklin '5 & 10', an old fashioned luncheonette, two fast food places, the list goes on. You could put a penny into the parking meter for 12 minutes. Of course there weren't nearly so many meters and parking places back then. Is it ironic, or is it me? So many parking spots, so few places to go.
What happened? What can be done?
The answer to "what happened" definitely deserves a book (or Ph.D. dissertation) and "what can be done" is up in the air.
A Banner year for Carbondale
Some businesses in Carbondale had a banner year in 2002, such as Noteworthy Communications
, which got a "sweetheart" contract ($150,000) with the city to come up with ways to make Carbondale a more attractive place to live (I think that's the idea, I'll try to obtain the exact wording), and among the recommendations was to put up banners like the one you see above. Some television spots as well. I'll try to obtain a copy of the report. And who would deliver the goods? Correct me if I'm wrong, Noteworthy Communications.
And who is handling candidate Flanagan's mayoral campaign communications? Note well: Noteworthy Communications.
Don't get me wrong, I applaud Kevin Graham and company's success at Noteworthy, and Maggie is one of my dearest friends in Carbondale (and she asked me to be nice to her in print) but isn't there some conflict of interest here?
Maybe not...maybe it's simply a case of Maggie choosing the best local communications outfit she could find to handle her web and graphics communications. And maybe the best idea Noteworthy could come up with was putting up banners around town proclaiming Carbondale's "shopping" and "dining" opportunities. Whoopdeedoo. It looks like "sky litter." :)
About a dozen are festooned on the street in front of City Hall and across the street, and on North Illinois Ave. (I wonder if one is visible from Maggie's seat in Council Chambers....a symbol of her "Renaissance vision", so to speak.)
For the record, Brad Cole voted against this cosmetic boondoggle when it came up before the Council. Maggie voted for
it, possibly because she is on the Board of Carbondale Main Street, whose name is emblazoned on the banners. Or maybe she really believes that banners and new parking meter poles will help downtown redevelopment.
One more Maggie story, and then I'll stop "picking on" her. (I pick because I love).
Dawg Day for Maggie
Remember those Saluki dog statues reported last week? The press conference announcing their purchase? I wondered why Maggie Flanagan
alone was invited to speak to the media. I didn't realize that the statues had been purchased by her husband, Ray Lenzi
, executive director of The Office of Economic and Regional Development (in the Dunn-Richmond business incubator on Pleasant Hill Rd.) with university money, and then "loan-leased" to Carbondale Main Street.
No problem with that, except that--at the press conference held last month--his wife was given free media exposure, essentially at taxpayer's expense. All the while failing to mention that one of the dogs was actually sculpted by her opponent, Brad Cole
! Brad's like "what's up with that?"
(Editor's note for the fact-minded reader: The statue pictured above is owned by 710 Bookstore
, and was not
one of the ones purchased by OERD. Nor was it sculpted by Brad Cole, whose true medium is the campaign sign. See below.)
Meanwhile, last Sunday night...