Beautification is both a public and private concern
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The Issue: Carlinville’s need for infrastructure means fewer funds for beautification.
Our View: Recent improvements on the city’s west side give the city’s curb appeal a boost.
In recent years, the city of Carlinville has had to make a concerted effort to direct available funds to necessary improvements to its infrastructure. With grant funding practically nonexistent, cosmetic improvements have mostly been fueled by the volunteer efforts of civic organizations, such as Winning Communities, which has done an exemplary job of keeping the downtown area beautiful.
A pair of projects on Carlinville’s west side is a great example of how private and public improvements can combine to make an extraordinary difference.
It’s rather serendipitous that the Boente Shell and train station projects came about at the same time. First came Boente’s new office building, followed by the construction of the new convenience store. The city eventually got their act together and broke ground about a year ago on the new train station, which is set for completion in August. Combined, the projects give the west side a nice and important face lift.
The images that come to mind when one mentions Carlinville are typically those of the courthouse and the square. Rightfully so. They are both landmarks. What’s often difficult for locals to remember is the train station is the first glimpse of Carlinville seen by those to ride the train. Not the square. Not the courthouse. The train station is a the welcome mat for those people.
While there are certainly those who felt a new train depot wasn’t necessary, it’s a fact that Amtrak would have closed the Carlinville stop if the project wasn’t completed. Over the next few weeks, as the contractors complete their work and the property is landscaped and the barricades come down,, residents of Carlinville will not only be satisfied with the structure’s quality, more than a few people will be pleasantly surprised at the historic flavor the train station will have when it’s finally finished.
The West Main corridor is an extremely important route through the city. Not only is it a state highway, but it is the path all but one of the city’s schools. In the case of the high school, the number of people who come to Carlinville just to attend sports at the high school is significant. All of those people have to use West Main at some point to reach the high and junior high schools. While it’s true the square is Carlinville’s highest traffic area, West Main is just as important. With serious speculation that at least one more new business is slated for that stretch of roadway, the significance of that new train station and Boente’s investment in the city and their business is even more impactful.
We understand that not every private business or citizen is able to make costly upgrades, but the situation with the depot and the convenience store shows the importance of private efforts to improve properties has a positive effect on the city.
The most simple efforts, such as keeping properties mowed and tidy goes a long way toward keeping the city’s neighborhoods and business districts attractive. It doesn’t cost much to power wash vinyl siding and sidewalks. If course, not everyone considers such efforts important. That’s to be expected, but any attempt on the part of Carinville residents to make the city look good is worth it.