Mayor Cautiously Optimistic on Proposed JDC Legislation

By Jeremy Coumbes on March 2, 2023 at 1:24pm

The Mayor is cautiously optimistic after recent legislation was filed to raise and remediate the Jacksonville Developmental Center grounds.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says he is glad to see 99th State District Representative Randy Frese has sponsored House Bill 1609 which would set aside more than $67 million to demolish and remediate the abandoned JDC complex.

Ezard is hopeful but, he says the city has been down this avenue before. “Representative Frese and I have spoken often as far as that he knows the impact of JDC in this community, and it’s not just Jacksonville, it’s South Jacksonville as well.

We’ve introduced legislation in the past that has stalled, and chances are this will stall too however, I felt really good that a new rep is coming in and he’s very much like C.D., he understands the impact. C.D. lives here, Randy doesn’t but he knows that it’s important to us to get things generated and some talk.”

Frese, who lives in Quincy, became Jacksonville’s State Representative last year during the post-census redistricting process that pushed Jacksonville native C.D. Davidsmeyer’s 100th District south of Lake Jacksonville.

Frese said earlier this week that the former JDC grounds pose a health, life, and safety issue for the Jacksonville area and that he feels the state has drug its feet due to the monetary cost of lingering asbestos issues in the now abandoned buildings.

Ezard says the city has done as much as possible to see movement on the blighted property that sits in the middle of the Jacksonville business district.

He says he is glad to see Representative Frese making an effort to get momentum going and keep awareness up in the General Assembly.

We’ve shared that CMS is part of it, we’ve done our due diligence with them. We’ve done our due diligence with IHDA (Illinois Housing Development Authority) as far as our housing survey and getting good relationships with them. It just comes down to if the Governor’s Office feels that this is an appropriate expenditure and the legislature is there to support that. I applaud Representative Frese’s efforts to introduce that.”

Freese said earlier this week that you don’t want to have abandoned and half-fallen-in buildings, especially in an area of Jacksonville where, if those were gone, some development could be done. He says he thinks it’s time for the state to take action.