PK’s to open for Halloween

By Gus Bode

For the first time since 2000, PK’s bar on the Strip will be open for Halloween and the weekend before while three other bars will remain closed.

Despite a concern about favoritism, the City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to move the boundary line one block south for restrictions on bars on South Illinois Avenue and to keep other limits in place.

Under the resolution, PK’s, 308 S. Illinois Ave., will be allowed to open during Halloween. The vote does not become final until an ordinance is passed, which is expected at the next meeting.


Halloween in Carbondale has had a history of wild behavior. The most recent riots happened in 2000 – the first time in four years the city had lifted similar restrictions on bars on South Illinois Avenue. Police used tear gas to break up riots on the Strip and several businesses were damaged.

The discussion to lift restrictions once again began in November after the fifth consecutive uneventful Halloween in the city.

Councilwoman Corene McDaniel, who opposed the resolution, warned that the council may appear to be showing favoritism by allowing PK’s to open. Mayor Brad Cole also voted against opening the 21-and-over bar.

City Manager Jeff Doherty said PK’s does not have the same history of problems during Halloween as other bars at the intersection of West College Street and South Illinois Avenue.

Councilmen Chris Wissmann and Joel Fritzler said media attention toward Halloween in Carbondale proved the restrictions should remain in place.

Councilman Lance Jack voted in favor of allowing PK’s to open, calling the move, “a baby step forward,” toward further relaxing the ordinance.

Stix Bar ‘ Billiards assistant manager Katie Baker said she didn’t think allowing PK’s to open during Halloween was fair.


“I think they should have kept everyone closed or let everyone open,” she said.

Even though the change would allow PK’s to open for the upcoming Halloween, bartender Russ Wallace said he doesn’t expect business to be much different than on a regular weekend.

Under the restrictions, liquor license fees are waived for bars that agree to close during Halloween and the weekend preceding. Keg sales are also stopped during the weekend.

The council also discussed and later voted unanimously to use Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy Company instead of Ameren to purchase electricity for the city. This will affect how much the city pays for electricity but not residential accounts.

Depending on the contract length the city signs, the estimated savings are expected between 11 and 12 percent, compared to the expected 33 percent increase from Ameren said Michael Ellis of MidAmerican Energy. Ellis said other municipalities are still able to join with Carbondale to purchase electricity.

Prices may fluctuate depending on the actual market price at the time of purchase.

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