Town Trying to Clean Up Mess

Town Trying to Clean Up Mess
By: Carley O'Keefe
Carrier Mills, IL - Lisa fox remembers the days when the Carrier Mills downtown was really something.

"When I was growing up, there was a lot of stuff downtown; there ain't nothing down town now. And I don't like these buildings, wood sticking out, kids could get hurt... it's a real eyesore," Fox said.

Most of the businesses that once populated the business district have closed up shop or relocated closer to the traffic of Route 45. Many of the structures, like the old bank building, have remained empty and fallen into a state of disrepair.

"It’s been vacant for probably 20 years, and it simply reached the point where there wasn't much to do but demolish it," said Carrier Mills Mayor Louis Shaw.

The old bank building on the corner of Main and Oak and the building adjacent to it are slated for demolition within the next month. The mayor hopes other buildings will follow. But some folks in town would rather see the block built back up instead of torn down.

"If the tax payers want to pay the money to help fix it up, but they have to make it attractive for the public, right now it's not attractive to the public," said Conrad Smith of Carrier Mills.

Mayor Shaw originally hoped to renovate the old bank building, but the cost to make it structurally sound was just too impractical for a small city like Carrier Mills.

"We had estimates for renovation go up into the $250,000 range. Needless to say the village doesn't have that kind of money. Nor is grant money likely to be available for renovation since there's no purpose for it after you renovate it," Shaw said.

The mayor is hopeful that once the old buildings are brought down, new businesses will go up, breathing new life into the old downtown.

"We are hoping that this is the beginning of bringing downtown back, instead of the end of downtown," Shaw said.