4th of July Events Still On As City Recovers from Storm

By Jeremy Coumbes on July 3, 2023 at 6:21pm

As the City of Jacksonville and surrounding areas are slowly starting to recover from Thursday’s storms plans for the 4th of July holiday are still a go.

Thousands of households and businesses in West Central Illinois lost power when the derecho hit just before the noon hour Thursday. Ameren Illinois officials say as of 1:00 pm today, Morgan County has less than 1,000 customers still without power.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says both Ameren and the City of Jacksonville are making progress in restoration efforts. He says he knows it is not moving as fast as everyone would like, but he says the impact from this storm is much greater than the normal summer storm Jacksonville is used to seeing.

We’re seeing more and more of it. A lot of times it only impacts a certain area of town and this one impacted every area of town in some way. And it comes onto a holiday so there’s challenges with events and things planned. But from where we were even just twenty-four hours ago when we had probably sixteen hundred residents without power.

I think we’re down to six hundred now as we speak. So it is trending down which is good. Crews are cleaning up some big trees that were still blocking the roadways and Ameren has gotten to those power lines that were entangled with those trees. So a lot of it will be looking different hopefully soon.”

Ameren officials say that continued storms moving through the area combined with how spread out the damage was slowed progress over the weekend, but the clear skies overhead have helped crews gain ground on the outages.

Ezard says he is thankful that everyone has been patient with Ameren and the city during the clean-up. He says even through the frustrating times, there is a silver lining. “I know everybody’s doing the best we can. Their patience has been great. It’s good to see neighbors helping neighbors, friends helping friends, and families helping families. If there’s one silver lining it shows again how Jacksonville comes together and helps each other.”

Ezard says despite the extensive damage all over town, including in Nichols Park, there is no need for concern about the 4th of July festivities because everything is still a go. “We’ve prioritized more of the north side of Nichols Park in anticipation of the fireworks where people gather and sit and watch.

We’ve looked over the area and gotten some limbs that were hanging down and cleaned that area up. We’ll wait for some other areas that aren’t utilized as much. But yes the fireworks are on Tuesday night and the parade is on for the morning.”

The Jacksonville 4th of July fireworks show will again be held at Nichols Park beginning at dusk.

The annual Jacksonville Rotary 4th of July Parade steps off at 10:00 am from the Morgan County Fairgrounds and progresses down West State Street to the downtown square.

WEAI will broadcast the parade live, tune into 107.1 fm for coverage starting at about 10:10 am.