Carbondale mayor unveils revitalization project to promote community growth

In Tuesday’s state of the city address Mayor John Henry unveiled upcoming plans for Carbondale’s revitalization project, which looks to encourage citizens, students, and visitors to think of Carbondale for entertainment, dining, and shopping.

Henry announced phase 2 of the downtown streetscape will be completed in time for the start of fall classes.

This revitalization includes improvements to sidewalks, curbs, and additions of plants and flowers throughout the downtown area and will stretch from Cherry Street to Monroe Street.


In his speech, Henry asked the Carbondale Tourism Bureau, Carbondale Community Arts and Carbondale Mainstreet to help the city implement and support music and art events, festivals and sports events in Carbondale.

“Carbondale can and should be the ‘Cultural Center of Southern Illinois,’ Henry said. “These kinds of events attract visitors from all over southern Illinois and benefit our businesses as well as our students.”

Additionally, Henry said the city of Carbondale will pursue funding for a new Regional Multimodal Center that will replace the Amtrak Station. Funding for construction will come primarily through federal and state funding, with some city funding.

“Amtrak is a vital resource for SIU, providing easy access to Carbondale,” Henry said. “Centers, such as this one, have already been completed in Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana and Springfield.”

The multimodal center would also be used by taxis, and other means of mass transportation to transport people throughout the region.

Over the course of six months, research was gathered by focus groups with stakeholders to see where improvements in Carbondale were needed.

More than 600 people took part in a community survey that was conducted in southern Illinois, and regional leaders from the St. Louis/Metro East area, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Bloomington-Normal and Paducah, Kentucky.

“There were three recurring themes related to Carbondale,” Henry said. “Southern Illinois University, diversity and outdoor recreation.”

From the research gathered by the committee appointed to work on rebranding the city, Henry announced the city’s new motto: “All Ways Open.”

“‘All Ways Open’” implies that the possibilities in Carbondale are limitless,” Henry said.

The motto reflects Carbondale’s welcoming reputation for being an inclusive and artistic community, which allows residents to express themselves. Henry said this line can be applied to businesses, recreation, and education.

Along with the new motto, Henry unveiled Carbondale’s new logo design.

All Ways Open logo. Provided image from Amy Fox, Carbondale’s public relations officer.

“This logo is an abstract crossroad which fits with Carbondale being the Eclipse Crossroads of America as well as the crossroads of Southern Illinois,” Henry said.

The green in the logo represents the region’s outdoor recreational opportunities and the maroon represents the community’s ties with the university, according to Henry.

“The overall tone says sophisticated, outdoorsy, and creative,” Henry said. The new brand will begin being implemented in the next three to six months.

Henry ended his state of the city speech by addressing the audience with some positive charges like shopping locally and often, to volunteer, and vote.

“Be kind to one another,” Henry said. “A simple nod of the head and a smile go a long way.  We are a diverse community and that diversity is perhaps our greatest resource.”

Staff writer Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmeilaBlakely.

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