Carbondale lifts restrictions on Halloween
"Let the party begin responsibly."
Those were the words of Carbondale Councilman Navreet Kang just before a 5-2 vote lifted all bar and keg restrictions during Halloween.
You may remember back in 2000 riots broke out in the area known as the Strip.
After serving as chancellor of Southern Illinois University from 1999 to 2001, John Jackson remembers the last Halloween on the Carbondale Strip quite well.
"The place exploded," Jackson said.
Jackson said students were climbing trees and light poles, throwing beer bottles, and starting fires when the riots broke out.
"It was virtually out of control behavior and alcohol fueled nonsense," Jackson said.
Since the 2000 riots, Halloween has been banned on the Carbondale strip.
With scarce crowds and dwindling revenues, Mayor Mike Henry says it's time to give the students a second chance.
"They've had shortened hours with the bars," Henry said. "It just effects three facilities downtown. All we're doing is lifting the restrictions they can operate like they do any other night of the week."
While Henry says he's confident Halloween can be good for the city, Jackson says he's skeptical it's worth the risk.
"I hope the projections from the city council are right and that the pattern has been set that it's going to be quiet over Halloween, though I am somewhat skeptical," Jackson said.
The city of Carbondale will not close down Southern Illinois Avenue like they did prior to the 2000 Halloween riots.
SIU will only allow two outside visitors per dorm room during the Halloween weekend.