The future of Jackson is closely associated with how the downtown fares, which voters should keep in mind on Tuesday when assessing candidates’ priorities.
Over the years, as citizens moved to the suburbs and shopping malls caused downtown stores to fade, Jackson’s central city became almost exclusively a hub for businesses, legal and government offices. Downtown became virtually abandoned after dark – save for a few nightclubs.
That’s rapidly changing, as a mixture of old and new is reviving the area. Stalwarts such as the Planetarium, the city auditorium, the old and new Capitol, the arts museum and arts pavilion are being enhanced by the under-construction Telecommunications Conference and Training Center, the planned convention center, and big changes around Jackson State University and Farish Street.
Despite these efforts, it is essential that Jackson leaders keep pushing for bettering the core city. As “Mississippi’s Downtown,” a three part series published last year by The Clarion-Ledger, showed: a still-to-be-realized goal is to turn downtown into more of a livable city, with parks and recreation and, most important, inviting residents.
In order for Jackson to thrive, it must have a balanced business and residential mix, a stable and growing tax base. Part of that is ensuring Jackson at its heart is a bustling city, a place where people want to go, shop, visit and grow.
That takes vision and planning, but it also takes hustle. City leaders must be proactive and innovative in luring people back to the central city, and flexible in offering tax credits and financing to make great plans become reality.
Choosing the right leaders is crucial to that happening.
Clarion Ledger Editorial