Will bars be able to one day operate 24/7 in downtown Jackson? The City of Jackson will ask the Department of Revenue to designate a certain areas of downtown as a resort area and entertainment district. The request came before the City Council's Planning and Zoning Committee Monday. The committee did not vote on the request but decided to study creating the boundaries of a proposed entertainment district and adopting a long-range plan for downtown Jackson. The city has never adopted such a plan. Downtown Jackson Partners will work with the city in creating the long-range plan.
Director of Planning and Development Eric Jefferson said the city wanted to create an entertainment district "with the convention center as a hub". Downtown Jackson Partners Executive Director and former Ward 1 Councilman addressed the committee. Mr. Allen said the city didn't have an actual business district. He said the Chamber of Commerce wanted to create a central business district and asked DJP to draft plans for one. The city was working on one as well. Mr. Allen and the committee discussed the possibility of DJP acting as a consultant for the city in creating a CBD.
He said creating a central business district will allow the city to use covenants in a long range plan. He said several areas (see first map posted below) currently have commercial operations even though they are zoned light-industrial. The city adopted a comprehensive plan in 2004. However, Mr. Allen said it would not create a plan without the approval of the city council. Mr. Jefferson said he wanted to issue an RFP for creating a plan and work with DJP to determine the best plan to present to the city council. Mr. Hendrix asked how long it would take to draft a plan. Mr. Allen asked "If we do it or y'all do it?" to much laughter. Mr. Allen recommended (28:00) asking Central Mississippi Planning & Development District (CMPDD) for a list of consultants.
Mr. Allen and council members said they wanted to include Commerce Street area businesses in the entertainment district.
The green sections in the first map are the tax-exempt parcels such as the courthouses and state fairgrounds. The pink areas that dominate the downtown area are currently considered a business district. Commerce Street is zoned the Old Capitol Green District. The map is pretty self-explanatory.
|City future use map|
|DJP proposed changes to future use map|
Kingfish note: This is an example of the city moving in the right direction. This plan does not involve creating Xanadus with robot garages, loans, grants, or crony capitalism but instead eases the environment for restaurants and nightclubs to operate. The owners of Martins, One Block East, Jaco's Tacos, Underground 119, and of course Hal & Mal's put their money, time, and sweat into their businesses. They didn't get hand outs, tax credits, loans, or other forms of "economic development assistance". They just went out and worked. This will give them a chance to succeed on their own merits as they will be able to operate under more relaxed rules. It makes no sense for a dive on Farish Street to enjoy resort status while the real building blocks of an entertainment district that are around Commerce Street are placed at a competitive disadvantage.
If no crony capitalism is involved, the creation of an entertainment district is the right thing to do.