Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bus stop stopped?

Should the Greyhound Bus be allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at 215 N. Washington St? Carbondale City Planners think so, but the Planning Commission thinks not.

The Planning Commission is comprised of 10 people*, including Councilman Fritzler who sat at the end. Chairman Navreet Kang conducted the meeting and City Planners Rob Keehn and Angie Shimkus (no relation) were there to present information and answer questions. Also on the Commission a familiar face, Rhett Barke, who ran for City Council the same year as me, and will probably run again.

Three people spoke against, and three expressed concerns. Of the three who spoke against, two didn't make sense: Mrs. Nesbitt and her brother. In fact, the opposite of what they anticipate would happen.

Another very vocal opponent was "Dr. M. Stall", who seemed a bit het up about the whole thing. She should have just spoken to me, and I could have allayed her fears or cured her ignorance. But her whole approach was negative. She hasn't read The Secret, obviously. Like me and Rhett B., Ms. Stall ran unsuccessfully for City Council a few years ago.

The planning commission didn't do a good job of involving people in interaction. The structure is spelled out step by step in front of the Chairman. The whole thing with the microphone and big table.

The other comments came from three men whose business savvy and real estate acumen I respect: Gale White, Tom Egert, and Eric Deutsch, each of whom owns property across the street from the proposed location. Tom and Eric spoke in person, while Gale submitted a letter. I didn't hear what they said as being against, but offering constructive advice.

One concern was shelter for passengers, and facilities for when the bus arrives. One possibility would be to have a restaurant in the back. There is plenty of space, since it used to be a bar, and there are still tables and chairs and public bathrooms. So it's possible.

I plan to postpone the June 5 hearing at City Council until June 19, during which time I can try to speak to Mrs. Nesbitt, the fried fish queen, and perhaps with the estimable Dr. M. Stalls -- after addressing the concerns raised by Gale, Tom and Eric.

Rob K. says I can push the City Council hearing back for one meeting, but more than than that, and I have to reapply for a permit (and pay another 200) again. In addition, the City is charging a fairly reasonable rate of $50 per month to lease 2 spaces.

Today, Richard Carpenter built a counter. I want to have the office spiffy by next week. Currently, the office is in bivouac mode, with dial-up connection and hand-written tickets, but some friends and neighbors have stopped by to give support for my venture on "the Levee." Even Sheikh Din gave his approval as he was leaving (not by Greyhound) for a conference in Austin with a priestly guy named Thomas Keating.

We all agree (even Thomas Keating, if I asked him, I am sure) that that 215 N. Washington is not the perfect location. Inside the Amtrak station would be best. But until there's an intermodal center in town, this location will do nicely. If I do decide to take it to City Council on June 19, I'll try to bring some friends along, to give the viewers on Channel 16 a show. ;-)

*The list on the City of Carbondale website lists John H. Baker (Chair), Navreet Kang (First Vice Chair), Carolin Harvey (Second Vice Chair), Michael Brazley, Lee Fronabarger, Gayle Klam, Rhett Barke, Katherine Hall, Janet Lilly, Joel Fritzler (Ex-Officio)

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