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A few facts to think about before you vote on Tuesday.

According to EIU’s website, total undergraduate enrollment is down by approximately 4,000 students since 2008, which is almost 20 percent of the city’s population.

According to Zillow, there are 197 houses for sale in Charleston, as well as hundreds of rental signs up all over town. Water and sewer rates continue to rise.

There is an increasing number of shootings and other violent crimes in Charleston. Walmart has reduced their hours with rumors that it may eventually close its Charleston store. There are many other open storefronts in prime locations.

Ask yourself, how is Charleston doing?

I don’t like to focus on the negative, but unfortunately these are facts, and areas that need to be addressed. The current incumbent candidates running for city council are hard-working men and have done some great things for Charleston, but they’ve both been on the council for many years. It may be time for a change.

If elected to city council, here are just a few of the things I’d like to work on. I’d like to make Charleston more student friendly by offering them more recreational options, for them to feel pride and ownership in our town. Parents send their children here for a great education and are expecting a safe, clean, well-cared for environment. Parents want their children to feel at home away from home.

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Lincoln Avenue is the first impression we give, and although it is a state highway, the city can still work hard to keep it beautified. I would like to see a full-time horticultural position within the city to plan and maintain professional landscaping on our streets and parks. I’d like to offer our citizens more services by creating a curbside leaf and limb program.

I’d love to see new restaurants come to town, but the fact is we are too small of a community to attract the large restaurant chains; we simply do not meet their requirements. However, I’d like for us to pursue smaller family-owned restaurants that have proven success in surrounding areas, so that we can enjoy a greater variety of options.

We have an entrepreneur in town that’s making great improvements to parts of the downtown square. I think we should make it a priority to support the efforts of these entrepreneurs and all businesses on the square.

I’m also very interested in preserving our historic heritage. My family has been in the Charleston area for five generations, my wife and three children are all graduates of EIU. I would like to preserve Charleston’s reputation of being a great town to raise a family in for my grandchildren, as well as yours.

The bottom line is that I dearly love Charleston, and I will always support what I think is in the best interest of Charleston first. I hope you will think about our town, and its future, then get out there and vote on April 2. I appreciate your support.

Quincy Combs, Charleston

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