Committee listens to students’ desires

By Gabriella Scibetta

The Downtown Advisory Committee, formed over the summer by the Carbondale City Council to gather information on improving downtown, invites students to voice their opinions at its next meeting.

David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute said the meeting, which will be held at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday in the Student Health Center Auditorium, is an opportunity for students to be active and advocate for change in their community.

“We hear people complaining about there not being anything to do, or they don’t like something,” he said. “This is a chance to be there and actually say something.”


Jack Langowski, chairman of the Downtown Advisory Committee said the committee would write a report for the city council and then find a consultant to make those changes happen after the meeting.

“If you have an idea about what can be done to make downtown Carbondale better, this is the place to go and take that idea,” Yepsen said. “It’s important because downtown Carbondale needs help.”

Yepsen said if the downtown area was as attractive as it should be, it would be a more welcoming place for students to come and parents to see, and could increase enrollment and decrease behavior problems, such as crime and riots.

He said it would give students more to do, more cultural opportunities and become more than just bars.

“If you have something more than just a bunch of bars on the strip, [the town will] be less likely to have people out at two in the morning with nothing else better to do than cause trouble,” Yepsen said.

Langowski said the committee would be analyzing the possible relationships between the university, SIH, residential neighborhoods and downtown.

He said the committee hopes to get as much public comment and participation as possible.


“We are expecting a broad range of ideas and suggestions, but we would never know how the public feels unless they attend and provide us with their comments,” Langowski said.

Adrian Miller, student representative for the DAC, said the committee has been talking about issues regarding transportation and business development.

“There is a whole lot of things that students can come in and advocate upon,” Miller said. “What they would like to see in their downtown [is important] because students are critical. They make up a large majority of the economy in Carbondale.”

Miller said he is doing his best to represent student interest but to speak for 17,000 students is difficult and that’s why it is imperative for students to come out and voice their opinions Wednesday.

Langowski said Southern Illinois Healthcare will also be there talking about its suggestions.

The meeting is one of eight hearings around the community for people to recommend enhancements.

Gabriella Scibetta can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @gscibetta_DE