Monday, January 7, 2008

Councilman Wissmann Responds

In response to the email I've sent out out the citycouncilpeople, Chris Wissemann has this to say about what he would like to see and expects to see happen in Carbondale this year:

We're going to hire a new city manager.

I think during the last five years or so we've seen some modest gains in SIU enrollment and in bringing in new employers. But we need more dramatic improvement in both areas, especially in the quality of jobs available in Carbondale.

The city needs to make sure SIU is a safe, fun place where students can receive a world-class education. That should be our primary role in helping to rebuild SIU enrollment. Finding fun is rarely a problem, but safety is. I hope that rental-housing reforms enacted during the last four years will help improve housing safety. Now we need to develop faster, smarter ways of responding to violent crime, and more innovative ways of preventing it in the first place.

The city has never quite figured out how to capitalize on the presence of a major research institution. SIU professors have, for example, developed new, low-cost methods of coal gassification. The city needs to try to entice production facilities for such inventions into our industrial parks, or otherwise turn these knowledge innovations into local jobs outside of the university.

I hate the city's suburban-style zoning code, and hope we can try, if only in a few pilot areas, some mixed-use zoning with small neighborhood shops or caf├ęs (like the now-defunct Jim and Ruth's grocery), and see how it works.
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Thanks!

Chris Wissmann,
Carbondale City Councilman

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