One South Jacksonville Trustee isn’t on board with a major flag project.
Village Trustee Megan Davidson voted “no” on the giant flag pole project proposed by Village Mayor Tyson Manker at last Thursday night’s board’s meeting. Manker is using approximately $40,000 of village tourism money to erect a 120-foot flag pole with a 30 foot-by-60 foot American Flag on it. The flag is being made by a company in St. Louis, Missouri while the flag pole was purchased from a company in Plano, Texas.
Davidson says she would have liked to have had more conversations about other phases of the project prior to the official vote and simply didn’t see how it equated to tourism for the village: “I just have a hard time thinking that [the flag] will bring tourists to stay in South Jacksonville, which is what the tourism funds are for. It’s just a lot of money to spend, but I don’t think we will reap the benefits of bring people – we are supposed to have the heads on beds – so that’s my reasoning for voting ‘no.'”
Davidson says it’s not a matter of being un-patriotic but about spending money wisely and for its intended use. During the meeting Thursday, it was mentioned by other trustees that the flag pole would possibly be a destination for a walking and/or bike path or a tie-in with a future veterans memorial at Dewey Park that could be phased in over the next few years. Davidson says she wishes those conversations would have happened with her present prior to the vote.
Davidson says she would like the tourism money to bring in an attraction inside the village to make people want to stay in the village’s hotels and for people to come in to the village to shop and eat.
The flag project passed 5-1 and is now awaiting a verdict on placement. Mayor Manker is asking for the State of Illinois to deed land at the end of Moeller Road for a possible site for the flag pole. Village Streets Superintendent John Green says the other destination for the flag may be on the village’s 40 acres behind Love’s Truck Stop.
The unveiling of the flagpole is set to be a part of the festivities over the September 11th Freedom Fest in the Village.