Carbondale pursuing underground power

Carbondale pursuing underground power

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The city of Carbondale's latest move in its ongoing downtown redevelopment project is to bury power lines underneath "the Strip".

City Manager Kevin Baity says the current setup leaves the area more prone to power outages, and leaves the downtown region cluttered with industrial transformers and similar appliances every 15 ft.

The lines in question are on both North and Southbound U.S. 51, near Cherry St.

The aging and cracked sidewalks they sit on will be replaced "eventually" according to Baity, and underneath is where those power lines would be moved to.

Carbondale Resident Joseph Wulgaert says he's not bothered by the powerlines. "really, if you go to any small town in america, you're gonna see power lines." Wulgaert explained

"There's definitely a lot of better places to spend the money" Wulgaert explained<, "I mean, there's homeless people all over the place. [the city] could put a lot more into social services and stuff like that... it doesn't really matter what the town looks like.

Other residents agreed, explaining they never noticed them until the topic came up, but Pheonix Cycle shopper Dee Arabs said he believes the project could be worthwhile.

"Just as an overall sight," Arabs said, "It looks better not having the lines across the streets and all of those things as long as we won't end up seeing the costs reflected heavily on our energy bills."

Part of the town already has underground lines, but Baity fears the projects' expense will be elevated since the poles and lines in question are owned by various utility companies, and not the city.

Baity says the city won't commit to the project until a firm number is known.