Jack looks to move Carbondale forward

By Gus Bode

Carbondale City Councilman Lance Jack is hoping to keep moving Carbondale in the direction the current council started almost four years ago.

When Jack took his seat at the council table after the last election, he said he felt the city government was injected with a new energy it had not previously seen.

“Four years ago there was very little that the city government did to reach out to the community and say, ‘What’s going on? How can you help us help everybody?'” he said.


Now, Jack is hoping to continue that trend within the city and work to make the community what he called “more livable.”

“I’m more a believer that if you work to get a lot of little things done, that on a local level, it helps to make a city that much more livable,” Jack said.

After living in Wyoming, Jack said he moved to Carbondale to live with friends who were students at SIUC. He has lived in the community for almost 15 years. Jack, who called himself an entrepreneur, also said he helped to open Harbaugh’s Caf�.

“The moment I came to Carbondale I noticed a different energy here than I had felt most of the places I’d ever been,” Jack said. “At the same time, I noticed that as a community we really weren’t living up to our potential.”

Jack said he hopes to address zoning issues in the northeast and northwest sides of Carbondale in order for more local businesses to be set up in the area. He said zoning laws created in 1974 caused “residential deserts” that inhibited interaction between neighbors and in neighborhoods.

With more local businesses within the areas, people will be able to walk to the grocery store or use other services instead of driving across town, Jack said.

“I’m not talking about coming in and razing a block and throwing in a Wal-Mart,” he said. “I’m talking about allowing people that want to, to run a beauty shop out of their house or have their lawyers office in their house.”


Kim Treger, owner of Walk the Line and long-time friend of Jack’s, said one of his greatest assets is his ability to see both sides of the issue, especially when it comes to city and university relations.

“It’s like he has a foot in both camps,” Treger said. “It’s like with my business – we wouldn’t survive on just city business or just student business alone.”

Treger’s business is located in the downtown area, which is something, Jack said, the city has improved in the time he has been on the council. He said along with the visual improvements of tearing down old buildings in the area, the city has worked to move businesses into the area and created tax increment financing districts.

“It’s very difficult to go up and down the Strip now and find an empty storefront,” Jack said.

He also said this year he hopes more people vote in the elections. During the last election, a group registered 1,000 people on campus, Jack said. But the number of those who actually voted, he added, was disappointing.

“Too many people don’t take part in their democracy and then they wonder why things aren’t going the way they like them to,” Jack said. “When four thousand people get out to vote for mayor, that’s a little disappointing.”

[email protected] 536-3311 ext. 258