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City reins in downtown master plan movement

Geoffrey Ritter
Weekend Times

CARBONDALE — City leaders are putting the brakes on hiring a consultant to help develop a master plan for the downtown area until more public input can be included in the process.

At their meeting this week, members of the City Council informally agreed to hold off on selecting a consultant to help with instituting such a plan until members of the public, including an advisory panel selected in early June, have a chance to weigh in on the matter.

That advisory panel has yet to formally meet. The city issued a request for proposals from consultants in May and has received multiple responses.

“We want this to be a very open public process,” Mayor Don Monty said Tuesday. “We don’t want this to be a situation where somebody comes from outside the community and essentially brings their preconceived notions of what are the proper ways to develop a community.”

Councilwoman Jane Adams said she wasn’t confident any of the proposals received address the city’s real goals downtown, adding that the city should back up and make sure the process is done properly.

“I think we sort of need to back up and pull the cart back into the barn and get the horse out of the stable and hook it up and move forward,” Adams said. “Right now the cart is just barreling down the road, and the horse is still standing with its harness on — the horse being the advisory committee and the cart being the consultants and what they’re going to do.”

City Manager Kevin Baity said he would take the concerns back to the city’s staff and formulate a strategy for engaging the advisory panel more thoroughly in the process. Baity said he will report back to the Council on the matter at one of August’s meetings.

The city is looking to develop a long-term plan for further development of the downtown district. Right now, a multi-story housing and retail project is under construction at the site of the former 710 Bookstore — a development that on its own will dramatically alter the appearance of the city’s downtown area.

Closure remains elusive in Livingston case

Carbondale Times

CARBONDALE — Eight years later, Carbondale Police continue to seek information that could lead to an arrest in the murder of Ryan Livingston.

Police announced this week that a reward of $6,000 remains for information leading to an arrest and conviction in connection with the death of 22-year-old Livingston, who was stabbed to death July 13, 2006, while walking on the sidewalk in the 300 block of West Walnut Street.

Livingston, a father, was fatally stabbed in the chest during an apparent robbery attempt and was discovered bleeding on the sidewalk. Livingston reportedly had attended the Sunset Concert on campus that evening and then was dropped off at a friend’s house. He was apparently walking when he was attacked between 10 and 10:30 p.m.

According to previous reports, Livingston called his older brother for help and was determined to walk to the hospital on his own. The brother called 911 but was only able to tell authorities that Livingston was “somewhere on West Route 13.”

Two people listening to music at a residence at 320 W. Walnut told police they heard moaning from across the street at about 10:30 p.m. When they went to investigate, they found the wounded Livingston, who kept asking them to call 911 and was saying his name repeatedly.

When police arrived, Livingston was lying on the sidewalk, bleeding from a wound to his chest.

He lived long enough to tell investigators about his assailants, describing two black males — one of light complexion and another wearing a backwards hat. Livingston was pronounced dead at 1:51 a.m. July 14.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact police at 618-457-3200 or Crime Stoppers at 618-549-2677.