Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard announced today that the city of Jacksonville will likely be closing West State Street from Webster Avenue to Park Street during trick or treating hours this week stemming from safety concerns from residents in the area.
Ezard said that the growing popularity of decorated houses around Duncan Park, led some of those residents to request the closure.
“It’s been requested by a neighbor, Liz Tracy who is very active in the community, her and her husband requested we close off West State Street this year, and I talked to the police chief about that and Chief Mefford was on board. Mrs. Tracy offered to go around and let all the residents in the area know about it.
We would close off West State from Webster to Park Street, and then also we will have to close off those sides streets like Sandusky. But you know, it’s safety first, and it is such a big event on State Street there now, that we just felt that this might be the right way to go. I am going to present this to the counsel tonight, but I think the counsel will understand the impact, and it will be closed.”
The City Council will have to sign off on the closure during their meeting tonight.
Jacksonville Chief of Police Adam Mefford said that due to the popularity of the area with trick or treaters, the police department plans to continue to be visible to help ensure everyone has a safe Halloween.
“I’d say State Street is the busiest street by far in the community. It has really taken off in the last few years, even more so than I remember at five or ten years ago. The decorations down there are really cool, and everyone likes to go down there and get their picture taken with them and trick-or-treat.
And Duncan Park makes a nice stop off place for people to stop off and hang out. Sate is a wide street with wide sidewalks, and for the most part there is some pretty good lighting at the corners down there, and there is parking available. I think that is way that area is so attractive down there, and we will for sure have officers down there just to make sure thing are going smoothly.”
Mayor Ezard said that he and Chief Mefford had discussed the possibility of closing off the street in the past.
“We had talked about this, about a month ago, Chief Mefford and I, and we were not going to do it. Chief Mefford said, well I have five patrolmen assigned to the area, let’s see how it goes again for one more year, and then if the officers feel it needs to be closed off then we can do it next year. Then, the request came in from a resident, and she had talked to other residents who were wanting to do this, so we just said hey, let’s just do it this year and give it a try.”
The city council will decide on the closure at their meeting tonight at the Jacksonville Municipal Building at 6:00 pm.
Trick-or-treat times for Jacksonville this week are Wednesday and Thursday from 6 to 9 pm.