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Mike

Carbondale, IL | 1 Review(s)

former illinois guy now living in nc

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Champaign, IL


City is past its prime but still decent - 8/23/2011
I grew up in C-U (Champaign-Urbana) overall it is a good place to live but there are some caveats about the place. C-U is a University town and without the Universty it would probably be another dying midwest town. It does have an airport at Willard, and better yet, it has a good train station, the lines from which run up to Chicago, and down through Southern Illinois and on to New Orleans. Besides the students, the local demographics seems to me to be that of an aging town. There are lots of retirees of the university who remain in the town tied to a health insurance racket called Carle Care (which is really just a eugenics and money making operation run by Carle hospital - biggest racket going in C-U at the moment). Many of the neighborhoods were built during post WW2 boom and are aging and way past their prime, so a lot of these neighborhoods are starting to get really run down. What used to be really nice, happy neighborhoods when I was a kid are now looking like ghettos. At the same token there has been a lot of outward expansion and development of new neighborhood suburbs, so you see in C-U the classic inner city rot and outward expansion of newer suburbs that so many other cities are seeing. All activity around the city center around the University, there are lots of restaurants, clubs, venues for entertainment. There is a huge shopping area on North Neil street. If you like window shopping, and coffee shops, C-U has plenty of that in the downtown area by the train station which is the nicest I've seen anywhere. I am a product of Urbana High School and I don't know how much the education has changed there over the years, but from what I hear it is pretty good, and it wasn't bad when I went. Many of the children to that attend these schools are the sons and daughter of U of I staff, so education expectations are pretty high. C-U does have a dirt that seems to be getting worse in recent years. The race relations there is really bad. It was never really all that good even when I was young, but it seems to have gotten much worse, it is a highly segregated place. I don't know all causes of this, but the so-called 'polar bear hunting' attacks that had occurred around the city sure did not help, and even the local TV weatherman got beat up. Also, the winters there are very harsh and unforgiving, and the summers are super hot. It seems like in C-U only spring is the most comfortable time of the year, because the weather seems pretty extreme there. Anyway, I hope you all found this enlightening, I don't have much more to say about the place for now....
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