Ezard hopeful JDC ownership transfer can happen in 2015

By Gary Scott on December 2, 2014 at 1:14pm

Jacksonville’s mayor is hopeful a new governor will mean a revitalized effort to do something with the Jacksonville Developmental Center.

Andy Ezard appeared on this morning’s edition of “AM Conversation” with Gary Scott to talk about, among other things, the possible timeline for the JDC when Republican Bruce Rauner takes over the governor’s mansion in 2015.

The man Rauner defeated in the November election, Pat Quinn, authorized the 2012 shutdown of the JDC, which was opened in the 19th century.

Senate Bill 341, which got held up in the House this spring after passing the Senate, would have provided tax credits for businesses or municipalities that want to purchase the building.

Ezard says city lobbyist Jeff Torricelli is pursuing that bill’s passage next spring.

“He’s waited for the new administration change, which has held things up, but early indications are that we’re going to push for a change of a little bit of language, and we’re going to push for another bill,” he says.

Ezard says the state’s been good to work with since the JDC closed, but the goal for Jacksonville is to one day get its hands on the property. The goal is pass a bill that allow for a transfer.

“With some dollars, some incentives, some money for demolition, because there were buildings scheduled to be [demolished] when the JDC closed,” Ezard says. “Unfortunately, those buildings are filled with the evil ‘asbestos’ word. That puts the price tag up a lot higher.”