Roundtable: One thing you'd like to improve in Galesburg

Community Roundtable
Special to The Register-Mail

What's one thing you'd like to see improved in Galesburg in the near future? 

Broadview Hotel is an eyesore; demolish it

Jeannette Chernin

One thing that I would like to see improved in Galesburg in the near future is I want to see the Broadview Hotel demolished. The Broadview sits on the northwest corner of our square which is considered to be the center of the town. It is unfortunate that the building has fallen into such a state of disrepair that it cannot be saved. It has become not only a hideous eyesore but it is also extremely dangerous.

The building cannot be properly secured for any length of time as there has not been any electricity running into that building for well over two years. Therefore there are no cameras operating on the property. Current security measures are not keeping people out. A vacant lot (grass or concrete) in this place would be a much better option than the current Broadview building, and a vacant lot would cost nothing to maintain. — Jeannette Chernin

Improving education opportunities always helps

Harry Bulkeley

Improving education always helps a community. The recent large restructuring of the education facilities was in reaction to the shrinking number of students. That was brought about by our loss of jobs, particularly manufacturing jobs, in the past twenty years.

I would like to see a similar restructuring in the education programs that would prepare students for local jobs when they graduate. The expansion of the vocational arts program is a good start. All jobs are requiring more technical skills and providing students with those skills will give them a chance to get a job here and stay in our community.

At the same time, education must prepare college-bound students with the tools to compete against students from larger and wealthier schools.

Administrators and teachers are working with the resources they have but our community will be improved by strengthening and modernizing the educational opportunities we provide our children. — Harry Bulkeley

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Need a an up-to-date community calendar

Laurie Meulder

My immediate response to this question until last year would have been to urge the construction of a new public library to replace the temporary one built in the 1960s. Happily, that wish is coming to fruition as anyone driving down West Main or West Simmons can see. Another of my longtime wishes is for a reliable, up-to-date community calendar of events, easily accessible to all. There is no one dependable source of such information. Surely the city's website could provide a calendar site with an easy way to provide event information, and an easy way to find it. This would be to the advantage of every organization sponsoring events and to all of us who would like to know what's going on throughout the year. — Laurie Muelder

Galesburg's weaknesses not as evident as in the past

William Urban

When I met colleagues from other colleges, I sometimes asked what their two strongest departments were. If they hesitated about answering, that suggested that they didn’t have any. Occasionally, I followed up by asking what the two weakest were. Normally, the responses came more quickly, though tempered by caution about admitting that there are any weak departments. 

Upon receiving this question from Tom Martin, I had to stop and think. That, in itself, was a response. A few years ago, I would immediately have mentioned the railroad crossings, downtown parking, and the local economy. Today, the economy could still be better, violent crime is more common, and perhaps race relations are more strained. But on the whole, Galesburg is doing pretty well. 

How to correct perceived problems? Aye, that’s the problem. But Tom was wise in seeing that asking the question is the first step to finding answers.  — William Urban

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The condition of the city streets needs improved

Charlie Gruner

Galesburg does not have the geographic area, a lakefront, the population or the resources of Chicago, yet it still has a vibrant culture. The Stearman Fly-In and the Orpheum Theater are just two examples out of very many that I could mention.

One thing that I’d like to see improved in Galesburg I’ve mentioned before. With all the positive attributes, first impressions mean a lot. The first impression that I got on coming to the area still exists and it is a turn-off; the condition of the streets! There may be some events or attraction that you can get to without using most of the streets in town but most will involve at least a few potholes. Out-of-towners could take the train and avoid damage to their cars. — Charlie Gruner

Need to fund projects that serve the most people

Stephen Podwojski

My answer centers on something that CAN be done versus some excessive magic wand thinking:  Fiscally sound fund management.  I have chronically harped on spending public money on items that satisfy a very simple Mr. Spock premise: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. This ethical standard of what governments can do for its constituents can be philosophically split a dozen ways. I liken it to a public funded pie. You have one pie and so many people to serve. What is your portion control? How do you use the money that you HAVE to improve Galesburg for the greatest good?

This is where the more progressive City Council has lost some focus.  Mind you, I prefer a more progressive local city government, but I cringe at money being misspent on projects that support “the few” and ignore the needs of “the many.” Examples of this current financial way of thinking exist. If you are paying attention — you know what those pie in the sky projects are. How the local government and its citizens respond to the well being of all of its constituents is the litmus test for Galesburg improvements. — Stephen Podwojski

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The Community Roundtable runs each Sunday and is made up of local writers. Community writers answer one question each week in 150 words or fewer.