Osborne Online: Some Thoughts On Thanksgiving

Check Out The Illinois Weather Service Forecast

Karen Wooden Resigns as

Dawgs Volleyball Coach
Gregg Zientara To Be Considered For 
Interim City Manager Post

The People Speak In
'Letters To The Editor'

Millikin University Welcomes The Holiday Season With 56th Annual Vespers Celebration

'Meals On Wheels' Expansion To Reach
Homebound Seniors
Every Weekday

Fuyao Glass Group 
Announces Construction

Macon County Sheriff’s Office Has Launched Facebook, Twitter Pages
Scheduling Change
Could Be Coming

Narcotics Search Warrant
Results In Arrest

Osborne Online -- Decatur:
The City With A Big Heart

Hockaday Now State
Record Holder

Hobby Lobby To Open
At Hickory Point Mall
Millikin Big Blue Coach
Makes Staff Changes

City Council Amends Noise Ordinance, Approves Land Sale For Medical Facility
Thirteen Attorneys Submit Applications For Appointment As Associate Judge In Sixth Judicial Circuit
Transportation, Law Enforcement Agencies Announce Preparations, Driving Reminders for Upcoming Winter

Paul Osborne's
Now We Know:
Four Candidates For Mayor, Six For Three City Council Seats

The deadline for filing nominating petitions to print candidates’ names on the ballot in next spring’s mayoral and city council races, ended Monday at 5:00 PM.
There will not be a primary election because less than five candidates filed to run for mayor and less than 13 candidates filed to run for three city council seats.
About the only question that remained to be answered on Monday was: “Will Bishop G. E. Livingston file petitions to run for mayor?”
He did.
It had been rumored for weeks that he would run for mayor.  I talked with him a few months ago and it was apparent he was thinking seriously about running.
Livingston, president and CEO of Robertson Charter School, filed on Monday, to complete the field of mayoral candidates.
Candidates for mayor are: Mayor Mike McElroy (running for re-election), City Councilman Patrick McDaniel, Dustin Chapman and Livingston.
Candidates for city council are: Derrick Thaxton, Lisa Gregory, David Horn, incumbent Dana Ray, Bill Faber and Robert D. Lewis.
Since the election won’t be held until April 7, 2015, there’s a lot of time to learn more more about the candidates.
There’s not much public interest in any race during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
GOOD/BAD IDEA? I’ve heard several comments about city council candidate Bill Faber’s decision to make his candidacy announcement last week with his horse, Senorita, standing beside him in front of the civic center. 
A few people were not impressed with having the horse as part of the announcement, but I have noticed, that any time the city council race has come up in conversation since last week, the candidate they were talking about was Bill Faber (and Senorita) and the way he made his announcement.
Faber has been using Senorita in his law practice television commercials for years.
Although few people will vote for Faber because he is a horse lover, Senorita gives him immediate recognition through all of those television commercials.
Faber ran unsuccessfully for council in 2003 and 2007, but now through the  television commercials with Senorita, his “Faber Files” program and letters to the editor, he has become much better known.
Faber wants to emphasize that it is time for some “horse sense” in our government.  

HOBBY LOBBY: Last week’s news that Hobby Lobby is going to open a brand new store in the Hickory Point Mall was bittersweet for Decatur’s economic fortunes because of loss of tax revenue at the present Pershing Road location.  
That’s a healthy chunk of money that will go to the Village of Forsyth and not the City of Decatur.
Hobby Lobby is expected to move in September of 2015, in space formerly occupied by JCPenney.  
Construction on the 60,000 square foot store is set to begin after the first of the year.
“We are delighted to welcome Hobby Lobby to the outstanding line-up of retailers at Hickory Point Mall,” said Cathy Mitteer, general manager of the shopping center. “We know our shoppers will be very excited about this new addition.”
Any time you lose a revenue generator of that size, especially to a neighboring community, it is not a positive for our community -- but a real boost to the Village of Forsyth.  Congratulations to them. Our loss is their gain.

PRIDE:  Bentley Bolen, who has an office on the third floor of the Busey Bank building, responded to my recent column about the positive downtown streetscape work.
Bentley wrote: “I really enjoyed the article on Franklin Street. You cannot imagine how many people come to the third floor of Busey and comment on how beautiful Central Park is. The pride is evident.
“My office has the largest window overlooking the park and employees and clients will stare out the window and I can tell you I have never heard a negative comment. This is one of the biggest things Decatur has ever done and will reap benefits for this community for decades. Thanks again for your article.” 

Transforming Downtown Area
Franklin St. Project Shows Early Signs Of Attractive Streetscape

To say that the City of Decatur’s Downtown Streetscape project has been “inconvenient” for many is an understatement. 
Although efforts have been made to make the construction work less intrusive, the work on the streets and sidewalks have caused about everyone to make some adjustments the past few years. 
The work is now being done on the stretch of Franklin Street, from Wood to Eldorado.
Some citizens are apparently upset with what they see in this project and a few of them have emailed me, or stopped me on the street, to tell me how horrible it looks!
Of course, it looks horrible -- its in the construction phase, not the finished project.
One man stopped me on the street and pointed to different parts of the project that he said looked “awful” and wanted to know why the City of Decatur would hire a contractor who would do such a terrible job.
When I pointed out the areas of the project he thought looked awful were yet to have any work done on them -- he fumbled for words and then told me they wouldn’t look any better when they were finished.
I don’t think that person would be pleased with much of anything.

• Visualize -- While the convenience of my normal routine has been altered because of the construction, I have no doubt the finished project will be one that will add to the beauty of the downtown area.
I have no problem visualizing the finished project and what we are now seeing on the Franklin Street streetscape shouldn’t be judged as how it is going to look until it is completed.
To show how much green will be along Franklin Street, the City of Decatur has provided me with some renderings of the planting plan for  Franklin St. 
All but one of the pages, which are printed on pages 16 and 17 in the print edition of the Decatur Tribune show the landscaping plan from Wood Street to within a half block of Eldorado. They show what we can expect in terms of grass, trees, sidewalks, curbs and a few brick fill-ins along the way.
If you want to get real creative, you can cut out each page and paste them together for the whole picture of Franklin in one document. 
Updating and enhancing downtown will pay big dividends, not only for those of us who run our businesses from the downtown area, but in projecting the image of a community that cares about its appearance.
That’s especially attractive to company owners and managers who take a closer look at our community in deciding whether to expand or locate their business here.
Believe me, I know what potential business leaders look for in a community because I gave several of them tours of the city when I was mayor.
All of our positives, which are often unrecognized by some who live here, play into corporate decisions on where to locate jobs.
“Quality of Place” and “Quality of Life” are extremely important.

• Biggest Complaint? -- I think the only part of the overall Downtown Streetscape project that I am less than enthusiastic about, is the angle parking on Main Street.  While I understand the need to create more parking spaces, I won’t park there because of the difficulty of backing out of the space into oncoming traffic. 
Also, when I drive down Main Street, I always make sure I drive in the right lane because of concern someone is going to back out into me from an angled space.  Other people have expressed to me the same fears.
When a large vehicle is parked next to a driver, it is impossible to back out with a clear line of vision and that’s the area of concern.

• Missing Spaces -- The most complaints I’ve heard (so far) about the Franklin St. part of the project is the reduction of the number of parking spaces in front of the post office because a lot of people who stop at the post office to get their mail, or transact other postal business, drive in and out of those spaces all day long.
It was difficult enough for them to find a place to park when all of the spaces were in place.
As I’ve mentioned in this column before, I walk to the post office each day, and there is no doubt the removal of some of those parking spaces has made it a lot safer for pedestrians who were not only dodging Franklin Street traffic, but North Park St. traffic and drivers who were pulling in and out of the parking spaces. With the location of the remaining spaces north of the crosswalks it has made it much safer to cross the street -- and I mention that from first-hand experience.

Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY.  




Paul Osborne
Editor & Publisher

Submit your news 
to the editor at:
or to: Decatur Tribune, 
P. O. Box 1490, 
Decatur, IL 62525-1490.

                * * * *
The photo at the top of the page shows downtown's Central Park with the fountain and historic Transfer House.

            * * * *
Decatur Tribune Offices Are Located At:
132 South Water Street 
Suite 424
P. O. Box 1490
Decatur, Illinois 62523

      Mon.-Thurs. 9:00-4:30
Phone: 217/422-9702
        Fax: 217/422-7320

Website Builder