From economic development and renovation upgrades to new restaurants and apartment complexes, murals, pilots, programs and more, Downtown Jackson Partners said there has been much accomplished this year in the core of Mississippi’s capital city.
In an email sent to subscribers on Friday, the organization recounts an exhaustive list of updates, upgrades, improvements and additions that include:
- Several properties throughout the Downtown district underwent renovations or upgrades including the new key-fob entry system at Downtown Fitness and the Old Capitol Inn’s electric vehicle charging station – the first in the downtown district.
- The Electric 308 apartments received various upgrades, which now provide tenants with options of hard wood floors, stainless steel appliances, Kohler bathrooms, granite counter-tops and more. The Hilton Garden Inn at the King Edward completed renovations to its 7,300 square feet of meeting and event space, guest rooms, full-service restaurant and bar, lobby and fitness center in July.
- The Walthall Lofts, located in the historic 1929 former Walthall Hotel, opened in July, adding 150 additional studio and one-bedroom apartments to the Downtown neighborhood. In January, Visit Jackson opened the new Welcome and Visitor Information Center and Merchandise Store on Pearl Street; the first of its kind in 25 years! The new Trade Mart Center opened at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in October. The building, constructed using all Genuine Mississippi-grown, raised and crafted materials, includes three dining cafes, as well as an enormous kitchen that serves both the Trade Mart and the recently renovated and connected Mississippi Coliseum, among other things.
- In April, the Mississippi Legislature voted to extend, for another 10 years, the State’s Historic Preservation Tax incentives program, one of the most important tools for historic preservation and economic development in the State of Mississippi!
- The Museum Trail, more than 10 years in the making, finally broke ground in July! The trail, connecting Downtown Jackson to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, is expected to be completed shortly.
- Several new programs and initiatives were established and installed, including the City of Jackson’s Parking Meter Pilot Program, which upgraded the then-current meter system to single-spaced smart meters giving more payment options including credit card, coin and app, bringing Jackson in line with other cities of our size regarding parking Downtown. The Metro Jackson Attractions Association, in partnership with Visit Jackson, launched the Metro-Jackson Passport, inviting visitors and locals alike to visit landmarks across the City, collecting stamps from participating attractions and restaurants. The passport is free and once at least six stamps are collected, the passport can be redeemed at the JXN Welcome Center for a free City With Soul t-shirt!
- Downtown Jackson Partners launched the EarthPlanter Pilot Program, transitioning to an innovative self-watering container system that produces superior plant growth while reducing labor costs, fuel and water usage of up to 80%. DJP launched the Adopt.A.Pot Sponsorship Program, allowing individuals, families and organizations the opportunity to take an active role in greening up the Downtown neighborhood.
- In November, the City of Jackson announced an effort now underway to gather citizens’ opinions from all walks of life to form a comprehensive community plan: Connect JXN, the first of such effort in 20 years!
- Ground Notations, through the Fertile Ground Project, was installed at Smith Park with an initial sunflower field that was absolutely stunning. The installation serves as a conversation starter, seeking to inspire change through public art and community engagement in order to develop a solution of creating greater food access across the State of Mississippi.
- New art installations include the Mama Rose Kitchen mural, another conversation starter from the Fertile Ground Project, which was installed on Farish Street and depicts a memory from the artist’s childhood surrounding family traditions of food making. Another is the Dragon and the Dancers mural by Eli Childers, located at The Arts Center of Mississippi. The JXN Icons mural was unveiled in July on the backside of the Old Capitol Inn on North Street; the mural depicts Medgar Evers, Eudora Welty, Thalia Mara and David Banner, bolding representing with shapes, lines and colors the eclectic melting pot that Jackson really is. (Use the Visit Jackson Google Art Map to explore all the city’s vibrant public art offerings).
- Downtown gained two merchants and services to the Downtown district right in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic, both of which are located right on Capitol Street! Green Bean, LLC, a cafe offering a range of cold-pressed juices, teas, high-quality pour-over coffees and pastries, opened its doors in June and has been a wonderful addition to the Downtown district. The ShopKeep Company offers an abundance of American-made gifts for everyone you can think of: from specialty food items to pottery, hand-made axes, lotions, home decor, children’s toys and more – every single thing is made right here in the USA!
- Several of our local restaurants represented Downtown Jackson very well, from Estelle’s Wine Bar & Bistro OpenTable’s 2020 Diner’s Choice award (won three years in a row!), to Martin’s Downtown awards of “best brisket”, “best chicken”, Chef’s Choice, and Overall Grand Champion of the 9th annual Bass Pro Shop’s BBQ & Boats Cook-off.
Follow downtown’s progress here and on DJP’s website.