Sunday, May 13, 2007

Caleb stops by; Dave can't stop

Got through my second week at Greyhound, making strides toward turning "the little station that could" into "the best little bus stop in Southern Illinois, south of Effingham," with the help of Richard here, who custom-made a ticket counter inside, and hung the sign above the door.

Caleb Hale, the new C'dale beat reporter for the Southern Illinoisan, stopped by with photographer Chuck Novara to ask questions and snap photos for a story in Friday's paper that begins:
"When David More says he wants to put a Greyhound bus stop at 215 N. Washington St., what he really means is he wants to revitalize that area of Carbondale.
Isn't that great! Caleb knows what I really mean! That makes him a "New Journalist!" -- going beyond the traditional who, what, and where journalistic questions, with techniques of fiction, such as investing motives behind stated words or deeds.
'This right here is the future of downtown Carbondale,' More said, standing on the sidewalk in front of the gray building he hopes will serve as the city's next stop for bus passengers."
But Caleb got it right (except for the color of the building - which is light brown, not gray; and the counter Richard made), definitely capturing the spirit of the endeavor: revitalizing the 200 block of North Washington St.

It's going to be challenging, though, because not all neighboring property owners share my vision.

I heard on the street (literally) that one of them -- Eric Deutsch (Doitch) -- was stirring people up to speak against my application for Special Use Permit at the Planning Commission hearing on May 5.

Deutsch is an old hippie real estate speculator and property manager of low rent properties. He's also a partner in a Murphysboro internet provider. I used to call him "the Sandanhista Businessman" in the past because of his outlandish attire, but after learning of his backstabbing, I think douche (as in douche-bag) might be a better name for him.

Eric is the man behind the curtain of the Big Muddy Independent Media Center which up until a few months ago claimed to offer an alternative "to the mind-numbing propaganda of big news corporations" (quoting the BMIMC MySpace page, but the link to the main site has been dead for months.)

What Eric didn't mention in his testimony to the Planning Commission is the fact that up until mid-April of this year, Greyhound tickets were actually being sold at the BMIMC. When I took over, I made the decision to move across the street for sound business reasons that I explained to Eric's friend Aur Beck. So D-bag's objections smack of sour grapes.

Another local property owner who spoke against the proposal, Tom Egert, remains one of my local heroes. I've known him since before Longbranch Coffee House was a used clothing store! Tom also is responsible for starting public radio station WDBX , and Tropicana Vintage (behind Longbranch, but with a Washington Street entrance). He's done a lot for the community. I rarely disagree with Tom, so his suggestion that a restroom facility would be useful is well taken.

Same thing with architect Gale White, who sent a letter to the Planning Commission requesting that when the bus arrives, the ticket office be open. I need to speak to him about that, and explain some realities he may be unaware of, such as my need for sleep.

But to address the main concerns of the objectors, I've decided to lease the back of the building (where the bar stools and tables and chairs still set out) so travelers can wait, and maybe buy a cup of coffee or a sandwich.

Link to Caleb Hale's article


PeterG said...

The only negative that I have heard that really makes sense to me, is the question of if the bus riders will be safe in that neighborhood at night. I don't really know the answer to that one.

Forget the restaurant, put in bathrooms, showers, hot plate and a cot instead. You can live down there! The everyone would be happy. The start of the Levy's neighborhood watch program.

The neighborhood is the last in Carbondale that has great upside. You need a few artists to move in and start fixing up the buildings. In a couple of years, that might well be the hot spot to live in town.

Wishing you great success.

Anonymous said...

Dave, you're back!

I have been a personal witness to the way in which Eric does not keep up the places he owns; they are in pretty bad condition. We need Carbondale property owners willing to make for better living environments.

Good luck at the meeting. Won't miss it on TV :)

Anonymous said...

I think you are on track Dave. Keep the ball rolling! Yes, this can be a really good area in town! Artists can help make a big difference in the appearance of the Town Square Area, as Peter suggested. Don't spend too much time thinking about a restaurant unless you want to go to the grave early. You are doing a great job!

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work. As a multi-generation towny, I would personally like to see that section of town get cleaned up. There's a crapload of potential there. I agree with Peter, there may be some safety issues, as it is a high crime prone area, but Crime doesn't like cleanliness.....

Good luck my friend.
K.C. Irfidahs

Anonymous said...

Its around the corner from Longbranch and Tres, two popular hangouts. I highly doubt it is a "high crime" area. Why do you all keep saying that, because there are black people down the street? Good lord.