Saturday, September 6, 2008

East Side in Transistion

With Aldi's set to move to the west side of C'dale, next to Dick's Sporting Goods, assistant city Manager Kevin Baity sounds a wee bit more concerned than he was a month ago.

Kevin Baity, assistant city manager for economic development, said Friday that the west side's commercial presence is merely in a state of transition.

"We have some businesses that, because of the economy, have closed. Another closed because of the lack of a lease," he said. "And we have a few entities who believe they want to be in the east side such as Aldi, who like to shadow big box stores."

Baity said renovations at the Royal Plaza Inn and developments in the works on the five-acre Mugsy's property are more indicative of what's happening on the west side than empty stores.

"West Side Center (between Subway and Ward Chrysler) is fully occupied and Murdale is 85 to 90 percent occupied," he said. "Kroger and, if it closes, Aldi, when you get looking, those are the only large buildings that are vacant."


Since Kroger West closed in October, Aldi's was one of the last grocery staples on that side of town. Assistant City Manager Kevin Baity said he was concerned the absence of shopping options would lead new residents on the west side to take their business to the new Murphysboro Wal-Mart, which opened in March.

"You hate to see a business leave one section of town and move to another," Baity said. "We just hope that they will work with the realtor of their choice and the city and not put too many restrictions on the building they will be leaving behind."

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It makes me sick that Kroger is gone, and Aldi's will be moving. I live on the west side of Carbondale, and it was always convenient to run to Kroger or Aldi to get something if was even more convenient when there was the little Amoco station next to Kroger (now another "wonderful" bank). As much as I despise Wal-Mart, I've been doing my shopping at the new Murphysboro Walmart because it's closer than driving across town to the other stores.

The west end of town looks like it's dying, and as far as I'm concerned, I don't know anyone in their right mind who would stay at the Stabbin' Cabin...I mean the Royal Plaza Inn, or the sleazy looking motel that's next to the credit union.

Okay, I'm done bitching. I just don't like watching my town die before my eyes.
I guess Kevin Baity doesn't consider the Food Co-op to be a grocery "staple," whatever that is.

Moreover, rather than hoping the departing stores don't place too many restrictions, why doesn't the city council make approval of the new locations contingent upon the absence of such restrictions?
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