Carbondale set to begin phase 2 of Streetscape Project - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Carbondale set to begin phase 2 of Streetscape Project

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CARBONDALE -- Carbondale will begin the second part of its Streetscape improvement project Tuesday.

Last year, city leaders invested more than a million dollars in the first phase in an effort to beautify the strip ahead of the August total solar eclipse. The first phase went from West Mill to West Cherry Street.

Tuesday, crews will pick up where they left off, focusing on the stretch from Cherry Street to Monroe Street, which also means more construction in downtown Carbondale.

"Usually people stay away from the construction," said Chan Patel, Old Town Liquors Owner. "Nobody is usually happy about that because it disrupts lots of daily activities."

Business owners and managers along the strip in Carbondale recalled how they lost business last summer, during the construction of phase 1 of the Streetscape project.

"During the construction and after the construction we had a severe plummet," said Michelle Streetman, El Greco Manager.

They say there are both pros and cons to the project, with one con being the sidewalk in front of El Greco and Old Town Liquors.

"The way the sidewalk was installed, at least ten times a day I get a complaint about it," Streetman said. "I can't change concrete that's already set, but it's a lot easier to change concrete that isn't board yet."

City Manager Gary Williams told News 3 the city is aware of the complaints and said they did the best they could with the existing conditions.

He said the city did not place a step from the street parking area to the sidewalk because they would have also had to include ADA accessible ramps and paths, which would make sidewalks thinner.

Instead, Williams said they decided to build wider sidewalks to make them more accommodating and offer handicap parking in other lots, which also means a longer walking distance.

As far as some of the pros, Streetman said the new street lighting creates a safer space around their store.

"I like how we got the sidewalk lit and the street lit so I don't have as much shadowy corners," Streetman said. "I've seen actually a decrease in drug activity in the strip."

While there are complaints about functionality, managers and shoppers call the new strip "aesthetically eye pleasing." They also hope for more functionality and business with the new changes coming.

"That change always brings about positives and negatives and you have to prepare and plan and think out how exactly everything is going to affect everything," Streetman said.

Phase two of the Carbondale Streetscape project is expected to be complete by August 10th. For more information, visit here.

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