Carbondale Main Street is one of nine such Main Street organizations across the country that will receive special funding through a grant program intended to help them navigate the pandemic and fund efforts that support a recovery.
The Main Street Resiliency Grant Program will provide Carbondale Main Street with $8,500. The organization, led by Executive Director Meghan Cole,plans to use the money to install permanent seating in the downtown area.
The Main Street program asked college students at SIU to create a range of benches and outdoor furniture for the downtown, including solar-powered charging stations, bike racks and even landscaping elements.
This spring, they plan to host a virtual series of community charrettes to get feedback on these designs. The city of Carbondale has agreed to install them in certain locations.
"These grant recipients demonstrate the creativity and entrepreneurial thinking that have historically driven successful revitalization on Main Street and will be key to navigating recovery," said Main Street America President and CEO Patrice Frey.
"I'm inspired by the innovative projects these communities have proposed, and I know they will serve as models and sources of inspiration for Main Street programs across the country as they enter the next phase of reopening."
The grant fund is made possible by Joe and Marge Grills of Rapidan, Va., who have been longtime leaders in supporting Main Street at both the national and local levels, including funding $80,000 worth of grants to Main Street communities in the spring of 2020.