Village officials speak on fire volunteer shortage, water works repairs, Godfrey Park renovation

By Benjamin Cox on March 29, 2019 at 9:35am

Improvements to South Jacksonville and maintaining safety in the village were central themes of last night’s Board of Trustees meeting at Village Hall.

The South Jacksonville Board of Trustees met for the final time in their current form, as Trustee John Gotschall is retiring from the Board after 40 years. Gotschall was unable to be at the meeting last night. However, the other five trustees and other village officials gathered.

The Village Board of Trustees will meet for their April monthly board session next week.

Three main topics of conversation during the committee of the whole session last night were the ongoing renovations at Godfrey Park, the necessity of additional firefighters to serve as volunteers for the village Fire Department, and repairs to village Water works structures.

Village Fire Chief Rich Evans Jr. describes what he mentioned to the trustees about possibly expanding the region from which the village fire department can accept volunteers.

“So we’re looking at our fire response area, and if we could potentially open the door to people that live in those areas to join the department. It will offer chances to more of the population. I’ve already had a few people come to me and tell me they are interested in volunteering, but they live just outside the village’s municipal limits.”

Village Public Works Superintendent John Green explains necessary repairs to the water softener plant and the lift station.

“For the water softener plant, in the 50 mile an hour winds we had a few weeks ago from the South we just had a lot of the shingles ripped off. It’s time for a completely new roof, there’s no repair that’s gonna hold that over. So we’re gonna have it stripped down and get a brand new roof on there. In terms of the lift station, we had a fire last autumn.. We’re waiting on a new cabinet to be built to house the control systems. That’s all through insurance, and we’re just about to that point.”

Village President Harry Jennings details what was discussed concerning Godfrey Park.

“In the whole redevelopment of Godfrey Park, we’re looking at adding some landscaping around the edges and the front entrance. We’re also looking at replacing a deteriorated old wooden sign with a large, engraved rock and some up-lighting. It’s low-maintenance stuff so that it will last a long time for minimal cost to the village. In line with that, we’re looking at upgrading security with improvements to the gate and installing some cameras and electronic locks – all secure and low maintenance to last a long time.”

Another item mentioned included the hiring of John Brady as a crossing guard, and that Village Police Chief Tim Mann is interested in utilizing Brady as an auxiliary police officer. In addition, tourism grants for the Jacksonville Speedway, the Rotary Club, and a traveling war memorial passed through committee and will be acted upon at next Thursday’s meeting.