Lower crime rates and new businesses coming in were among the topics Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry spoke to community members about Tuesday afternoon in his first-ever state of the city address.
Henry touted the successes in the community during his first year and talked about what challenges the community faces next.
He says there are big plans on the horizon for the city.
"There's plenty of things going on, like we're planning on starting the construction at the Hilton Hotel," said Henry. He says they’re planning on starting construction in March.
Henry says they have plans to revitalize the area and make improvements to SIU and campus life. He credits a lot of the good things that are happening in the area to a heightened sense of community policing, as well as a new level of trust between the community and its officers.
"Crimes are down 14 percent across the community," said Carbondale Police Chief Jeff Grubbs. He says those numbers are preliminary, and they’re still waiting on another month’s numbers to finalize them. But they’re indicative, he says, of crime index levels now sitting at a 20-year low. He says they’d like to see the numbers go even lower.
"I think that's phenomenal, at this day and age, to be doing that,” Henry said.
Henry said the work to improve Carbondale isn’t done yet. Along with focusing on the budget over the coming months, Henry says he’s also looking to bring more events and entertainment to SIU. But he says he’s challenging residents to do their part to better the community, starting with meeting their neighbors.
Henry says despite all they’ve done and have planned for Carbondale, there are still challenges to be met. Balancing next year’s budget will now become the focus of city officials over the coming months.