Cole touts past successes and looks to the future in address

By Gus Bode

At Tuesday’s State of the City address, Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole steered the city toward helping the youth and discussed a joint university and city task force that would be focus on addressing neighborhood concerns around the campus.

Cole said he wants to work closely with SIUC’s soon-to-be Interim Chancellor John Dunn, as he did with Chancellor Walter Wendler, to create a task force to represent various community interests. He said the primary area of concern would be the Poplar Street corridor.

“We want to look at what kind of properties are there, and how they’re being taken care of, and how we can make that an attractive entryway into the campus,” Cole said.


He said he had worked with Wendler to create the initiative but had yet to fill Dunn in on the plan’s details until after the transition.

Much of Cole’s vision for the future – the remainder of his final year in office – focused on Carbondale’s youth.

He said he will present an ordinance to the City Council at the Nov. 21 meeting that would provide stricter enforcement of school truants, and he also wants to work with the school districts to improve retention and academic progress. He said he would reintroduce the gang task force and keep the community cleanup program going with about $100,000 annually.

He also outlined a plan that would aim to attract and retain retirees in Carbondale. He cited southern Illinois’ natural attractions such as the Shawnee Forest and various lakes to help convince seniors Carbondale is “a destination for retirement living.”

Cole also focused on what had been accomplished during the past three and a half years while he has been mayor. He said the city has been progressing with clear and recognizable goals.

“In my mind, that means that we are providing for the basic health, safety and welfare of our residents,” he said.

Councilman Chris Wissmann said the mayor has always presented clear ideas, clear goals and clear paths to achieve those goals.


“That’s the sort of thing, as a voter, I appreciate,” he said. “That’s the sort of thing, as a councilperson, I appreciate.”

Among the improvements throughout the past few years that Cole noted were the renovation of the downtown district with new businesses and an improved landscape, the annexation of hundreds of acres of land into the city’s corporate limits, including the university and The Crossings mobile home park, and the community cleanup program that was established over the summer.

The improvements Cole cited were not only outlined in his past State of the City addresses, but also in his original position paper from 2002 when he announced his first mayoral run.

“With the help of many people, I kept my promises, and I’m very proud of that,” he said.

Cole also announced his second mayoral campaign during the speech.

“I intend to stay your mayor and today, right now, I am officially announcing my candidacy for re-election as mayor of the city of Carbondale,” he said.

He said he decided to run because he wants to finish the job he started and that he is looking forward to the future.

“Ladies and gentleman, I’m excited about what I see in front of us as a community,” he said. “I hope you’ll join me in this effort as we continue to make Carbondale a great place to live, learn, work, play and do business.”

Brandon Augsburg can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 262 or [email protected]