A mother and daughter study a map pinpointing connections in the city. Image: City of JXN Planning & Development

The City of Jackson has announced an effort now underway to gather citizens’ opinions from all walks of life to form a comprehensive community plan.

Connect Jxn is the first such effort in twenty years.

“The plan sets the framework for the pattern of the city and what is allowed and where it is allowed,” Director of Planning and Development Jordan Hillman said. “It also provides the basis for the building types, setbacks, parking design standards, subdivision standards and all development regulations. It is a legal document that says that framework is also the foundation for our zoning codes, which guides development permits in the city. The plan is also the basis for what type of economic development priorities we pursue.”

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said on many occasions, Jackson has failed in being a city that chases projects as opposed to a city that pursues a collective vision.

“People without a vision perish,” he quoted, “and so it is very important for us that we build and create our processes around the city based on where we would like to go.”

How the Process Works

The city of Jackson will engage with the community to develop a shared vision based on common values and desired and goals. The city’s planning team and the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, in partnership with One Voice Mississippi, will then draft a plan based on that engagement. The plan is presented to the Jackson Planning Commission, an appointed body, who will review it and engage with that draft plan and allow the public to continue to engage. Finally, the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council to adopt. Ultimately the Council must adopt the plan.

For the next three months, Connect Jxn is an engagement mode.

“We will remain in engagement mode until we meet the goals outlined in our engagement plan for participation,” Hillman said.

The city will make appearances at various neighborhood meetings and other group meetings throughout the next few months, conducting focus groups and interviews.

“We want community engagement from the very onset,” Lumumba said.

Participate in the online survey at connectjxn.com, where you can also sign up to receive updates on the project.

While the Mayor acknowledged a modest growth rate over the past two years but said the figure is not enough.

“That growth has not been inclusive, throughout all sectors of our community,” he said. “There are some areas that are considered investor-ready and the private market works for itself in those areas. Then there are areas that we know have been divested in, areas that we know that we have to lift a little more. And so having a plan and working that plan in conjunction with the community is conducive to making certain that we realize the potential for all of Jackson.”

Mayor Lumumba also announced the State of the City address on Thursday, October 29, at 6 p.m. It will be held virtually in the interest of public safety, live from the Mississippi Museum of Art on Facebook Live.