Vandals continue to cause big problems inside multiple vacant buildings of the Jacksonville Developmental Center.
Local media members were led on a tour yesterday of two such buildings where the most recent round of destruction was reportedly done over this past weekend.
The Jacksonville Developmental Center was shut down as part of an effort by former governor Pat Quinn to shut down all state-run institutions in 2012.
Morgan-Scott Crimestoppers director Loren Hamilton says this type of activity always seems to pick up during the summer months.
“Different buildings, different locations, they seem to be getting in, and as you can see around you, break glass, destroy the contents inside of the buildings, and break entryways into the buildings,” says Hamilton.
He says the Jacksonville Citizens’ Police Academy will begin assisting the Jacksonville Police Department in keeping an eye on things when no groundskeepers from the state are on the clock.
“This is such a large facility, covers so much ground out here, it’s hard to police all of the buildings 24-7, but members of our volunteering police service starting next week are going to volunteer their time to do some foot patrols at various times and various days to not apprehend anyone, but to hopefully deter the activity,” he says.
Hamilton says anyone arrested for the vandalism could be charged with criminal damage to a state facility. He says you can leave anonymous tips online at morganscottcrimestoppers.webs.com, or by calling 243-7300.
Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says selling the JDC property is a low priority for the state, but he’s hopeful state officials will move on the issue when a budget is passed.
Ezard says the building first has to be offered to another state agency, then the county, and then the city. He says at this point, no such proposal has been made.
Mike Theodore, a public information officer with Illinois Central Management Services, says the state is still in the assessment stage of whether or not to pursue alternate uses for the JDC, or dispose of the property.