Brooklyn Bridge removal, fire and police equipment discussed by city council

By Blake Schnitker on May 15 at 6:56am

A dilapidated bridge on Jacksonville’s east side will be closed down and removed in the coming months after Jacksonville aldermen discussed the issue at last night’s city council meeting.

Along with discussions regarding the worn down bridge on Brooklyn Avenue, Jacksonville city council members discussed various items pertaining to equipment with both the Jacksonville Fire Department and Police Department, as well as an ordinance to open up certain closed session minutes for public inspection.

On a night that saw a rather light agenda, the issue with the Brooklyn Bridge was brought to the attention of  Jacksonville aldermen by Municipal Services Superintendent Les Ballenger, who went over the various hazards presented by the aging structure.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard explains that this project specifically is somewhat of an emergency in terms of public safety. While the bridge on Brooklyn Avenue has been closed down for some time, Ezard says the city feels that now is the time to finally do something with the worn down structure.

“Actually the Brooklyn Bridge has been closed for a little over five years, and it’s dropped considerably so. We kind of had it open for people who wanted to ride their bikes or walk across it, but now we’re going to have to do something. We’re going to have to take that bridge out,” says Ezard.

Mayor Ezard says the city estimates the cost of removing the bridge to come in right around $12,000.

Another item on the agenda last night pertained to closed sessions that the city council holds every so often, and whether or not to make the recorded minutes from those closed sessions accessible to the public. As Ezard explains, this is something that the city council does on a routine basis twice a year.

In other action from last night’s meeting, Jacksonville Police Chief Adam Mefford addressed the city council during the workshop session prior to their regular meeting in regards to some in-car camera equipment and a new grant the city’s recently received. Mefford says that, despite the city having already put back $120,000 in the budget for the cameras, a new grant from the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board could eventually save the city close to $45,500.