WLDS News learned late yesterday morning that a fence had been proposed to surround the Jacksonville Developmental Center grounds. State Senator Steve McClure, who has been working at the Capitol to get the property sold through legislation, placed a call into Central Management Services yesterday afternoon and said that things are moving forward with a design. “JLL is the property manager in charge of care for the facilities and they are the people that do lawn care, snow removal, and address vandalism, etc. As part of their scope of work, they secured bids for fencing but the bids were real high, so they are now working with CMS and the City of [Jacksonville] to come up with an acceptable design and to help bring the costs down. I guess we will just have to stay tuned to see what comes out of that process. Generally, at the moment [the fence] is not going to happen, but we will see what they decide to do.”
McClure says he’s extremely frustrated with the State of Illinois passing over the problem. “I’m using every resource that I can to get the buildings demolished, but it’s going to take some time. Quite frankly, what keeps coming back to me and what I keep hearing is that the state doesn’t have the money. It’s all money. If you look at what the state spends money on, they have the money, okay. They act as though as this is not their responsibility that left us with this problem, when it is in fact the responsibility of the state because it was a problem they created. That’s part of the battle that myself, the mayor, and Representative [C.D.] Davidsmeyer have to go through. I’m working on this, I can tell you that. I’m not the only chatter on this. It’s certainly not a partisan issue either. There are very powerful Democrats around the state who have approached me about this.”
McClure says he will work for the rest of his term to try and get the property’s buildings demolished and the property sold. McClure is working on legislation to sell surplus property in the state. He says that if the bill has to be combined elsewhere to get things done, that’s the route he take to get the property taken care of. McClure said that he, State Representative CD Davidsmeyer and Mayor Andy Ezard are doing the best they can with the limited options that they have been given by the rest of the state government.